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Full text of "The works of Edgar Allen Poe."

>FROM THE BOOKS OF* 




Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2009 



http://www.archive.org/details/worksofedgaralle01poee 




From an euRraving by Stuart 



THE CAMEO EDITION 



THE WORKS OF 

EDGAR. ALLAN 

POE; 



IN TEN 



VOLUMES 



"4 .:^ '' 



rwtfi an intro3uc{iJon 6y 
EDWIN MARKHAM. 



VOLUME ONE 
INTRODUCTIONS AND POEMS 



FUNK &^ WAGN ALLS COA\PANY 



Copyright, 1904 
Funk & Wagnalls Company 



VOLUME I 



INTRODUCTIONS AND POEMS 



CONTENTS 

Page 

Prepack — Biography and Bibliography v 

Introduction — The Art and Genius of Poe, by 

Edwin Markham xxvi 

THE WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The Philosophy of Composition 3 

The Poetic Principle 22 

Introduction to Poems — 1831 53 

POEMS 

.Jedication , 66 

Preface 67 

The Raven 6» 

Ulalume 76 

The Bells 81 

To Helen (Mrs. Whitman) 86 

Annabel Lee» 89 

A Valentine 91 

An Enigma. 92 

To my Mother 93 

For Annie 94 

To F 98 

To Frances S. Osgood 99 

Eldorado 100 

Eulalie— A Song ,101 

A Dream Within a Dream 102 

T0M.L.S 103 



iv CONTENTS 

POEMS — Continued Page 

To [Mary Louise] .104 

The City in the Sea 106 

The Sleeper 108 

Bridal BaUad Ill 

A Pieau 113 

Lenore 116 

To One in Paradise 119 

The Coliseum 121 

The Haunted Palace 123 

The Conqueror Worm 126 

Silence 127 

Dreamland 128 

To Zante 131 

Hymn 132 

Scenes from « Politian " 133 

Poems of Early Youth 

Sonnet— To Science 156 

Al Aaraaf 167 

Tamerlane 176 

To Helen (Mrs. Stanard) 185 

The Valley of Unrest 186 

Israfel 187 

To ( " I heed not that my earthly lot " ) 190 

To ( " The bowers whereat in dreams I see ").... 191 

To the River 192 

Song—" I Saw Thee on Thy Bridal Day " 193 

Spirits of the Dead 194 

A Dream 196 

Romance 197 

Fairyland 199 

The Lake : To 201 

Evening Star 202 

"The Happiest Day" 203 

Dreams 205 

«In Youth I Have Known One '^ 207 



PREFACE— BIOGEAPHY AND BIBLI- 
OGRAPHY 



Ancestry. John P. Poe, Esq., of Baltimore, 
states* that "John Poe, the progenitor of the 
family in America, emigrated from the north of 
Ireland a number of years before the Revolution, 
^nd purchased a farm in Lancaster County, 
Pennsylvania, whence he afterwards removed to 
Cecil County, Maryland. At the time of the 
Revolution he was residing at Baltimore. His 
wife was Jane McBride, believed to be a sister of 
James McBride, Admiral of the Blue, and M.P. 
for Plymouth in 1785.'' 

David, the eldest son of John Poe, on the au- 
thority of his daughter, Mrs. Maria Poe Clemm, 
the poet's aunt and mother-in-law, was born in 
Ireland six weeks before the family came to 
America. From the time of the Revolution he 
lived in Baltimore, to which place he brought as 
a bride, a Pennsylvania girl, Elizabeth Cairnes 
by name. During the Revolution he became 
quartermaster-general of the American forces in 
Baltimore. 

*In the biography of Poe in Professor James A. Harrison's 
edition of " The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe," (T. Y. 
Crowell & Co., New York), from which the materials of the 
present article have been largely drawn. — Editor. 



vi WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The eldest son of General Poe was also named 
David. He was intended for the law, but at the 
age of twenty-five, in 1804, while at his uncle's 
home in Augusta, Ga., he joined a troupe of strol- 
ling actors known as the Hopkins Company. 
C. D. Hopkins, the light comedian of the com- 
pany, died October, 1805, and shortly after this, 
David Poe married his widow, whose maiden 
name had been Elizabeth Arnold. She was of 
English birth and parentage, and had been bom 
in mid-ocean when her mother was on the way to 
America. 

After their marriage, David Poe and his wife 
became known as the ''Virginia Comedians,'* 
and travelled up and down the Atlantic sea- 
board from Maine to South Carolina, giving 
theatrical performances. Three children w-ere 
bom to them at intervals of two years : William 
Henry Leonard, Edgar, and Rosalie. 

Birth and Adoption. On January 19, 1809, 
Edgar was born at Boston, Massachusetts. 
fCf. title page of Poe's first book, Tamerlane, 
Boston, 1827, published anonymously, "By a 
Bostonian."] 

On December 8, 1811, Elizabeth Arnold Poe 
died in Richmond, Ya., shortly after the death 
of her husband, David Poe, at Norfolk, Va. Her 
eldest son was adopted by his grandfather, the 
General. He was a lad of much promise and 
became a cadet in the United States Navy. He 
died in July, 1831. Rosalie was adopted by Mr. 
and Mrs. Mackenzie, of Richmond, Va., and 
baptized as Rose Mackenzie. She was of eccen- 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY vii 

trie character, and died, in Washington, D. C, 
in 1874, an object of charity. Edgar was 
adopted by Mr. and Mrs. John Allan, of Rich- 
mond, Va., and received the name Edgar AUan 
in baptism. Mr. Allan was a member of the 
mercantile firm of Ellis & Allan, that, soon after 
Mr. Allan's adoption of Edgar Poe, became quite 
prosperous. 

Boyhood. In June, 1815, Mr. Allan sailed 
with his wife, sister-in-law and adopted son, now 
a bright boy in his sixth year, to London, 
there to establish a branch house of his firm. 
They remained abroad for five years. Edgar 
was placed in Dr. Bransby 's Manor House School 
at Stoke-Newington, then a suburb of London. 
[See his story, '* William Wilson," Volume V., 
present edition.] 

In 1820, the Allans returned home to America, 
and Edgar, now in his twelfth year, was coached 
for college successively by Messrs. Clarke and 
Burke, two Englishmen who had established 
classical academies in Richmond. Edgar at this 
time was a bright, fun-loving, attractive boy, 
with a special talent for declamation. It was 
during this period, says Mrs. Sarah Helen Whit- 
man, in her book, *' Edgar Poe and his Critics," 
that he met Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard, the mother 
of a schoolmate. She became the confidante of 
the motherless boy, and to her, under the poetic 
name of Helen which he substituted for prosaic 
Jane, Poe addressed the poem beginning, 



Helen, ihj beauty is to me,'' 



viii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

which, though written in the author's fourteenth 
year, contains, to quote the praise of James Rus- 
sell Lowell, ''a grace and symmetry such as few 
poets ever attain. ' ' Mrs. Stanard died in 1824, 
but for years to follow Poe celebrated the dear 
memory of her under the names of Lenore and 
Eleonora. 

College Days. February 14, 1826, Poe ma- 
triculated at the University of Virginia, at Char- 
lottesville. He was a student during the second 
session of the university, which terminated De- 
cember 15, 1826. He selected as his courses 
** Ancient and Modern Languages," and at- 
tended lectures in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, 
and Italian. He is described as speaking and 
writing French and Latin with great fluency, and 
as reading Greek indifferently. He was noted 
in college as a student of literary tastes (he was 
Secretary of the Jeffei^on Literary Society), 
and as a teller of original weird tales. Un- 
fortunately he had the reputation also of being 
an inveterate gambler and, on occasions, a hard 
drinker. Mr. William Wertenbaker, who was 
University Librarian when Poe was a student, 
said that Poe told him that his gambling debts 
amounted to $2,000. His excesses did not, how- 
ever, come to the knowledge of the professors, 
among whom he was reputed a sober, quiet and 
orderly young man. At the close of the session 
he was officially mentioned as one of those who 
excelled in the Senior Latin and Senior French 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY ix 

LITERARY CAREER 

1822. Returning home, Poe quarrelled with 
Mr. Allan on account of his gambling debts, and 
left Richmond for Boston. Here, probably in 
June, he published, anonymously, "Tamerlane 
and Other Poems, ' ' a thin volume containing less 
than forty pages. Few copies (there were but 
forty printed) are now known to be in existence. 
One was sold in 1900 for $2,550. In May of this 
year, Poe had enlisted at Boston in the United 
States Army, under the assumed name of Edgar 
A. Perry. He was assigned to the artillery, and, 
after a short service in Boston, was sent with his 
battery, first to Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C.^ 
and, one year later, to Fortress Monroe, Va. 

182^. On January 1, Poe was appointed Ser- 
geant Major, a promotion implying previous 
meritorious service. His habits at this time are 
reported to be "good and entirely free from 
drinking." On February 28, Mrs. Allan died, 
and, shortly after, Poe returned to Richmond on 
leave of absence. 

On April 15, Poe, having procured a substi- 
tute, was honorably discharged from the army. 
Early in this year Poe published at Baltimore 
a thin octavo book of verse, containing seventy- 
one pages. It contained among other poems 
"Tamerlane," entirely rewritten, and "Al 
Aaraaf," published for the first time. 

On October 5, Mr. Allan married Miss Louisa 
Gabriella Patterson, of New York, a very e;xcel- 
lent woman, but of "masculine personality/* 



t WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

Poe did not get on very well with this new mis- 
tress of the Allan home, and soon left it for West 
Point, having secured a cadetship there through 
the use of political influence and by representing 
kimself as younger than he really was. 

1830. On July 1, Poe entered West Point. 
Though standing high in his classes, third in 
French and seventeenth in mathematics in a class 
of eighty-seven, he was often disciplined for 
neglect of military duties. His reputation 
among the students was that of a literary genius, 
a brilliant but carping critic, and a constant 
drinker, but not to excess, of intoxicants. Final- 
ly, he was court-martialled and dismissed from 
the Military Academy for disobedience of orders 
and absence from roll-calls, guard-duty, and 
class-work, the sentence to take effect March 6, 
1831. 

He left West Point before this date, probably 
in December, 1830. 

1831. Soon after leaving West Point, Poe 
published the third of his collections of verse, in 
a duodecimo volume of one hundred and twelve 
pages, dedicating the book to the West Point 
Cadets, from whom he had taken subscriptions 
in advance. It contained the best verse of his 
previous volumes, and such new poems as Israfel, 
and A. Paean (the first version of Lenore). It 
was introduced by a prefatory ** Letter to 
B .'^ 

1831-33. These years Poe seems to have spent 
in Baltimore, with his aunt, Mrs. Maria Poe 
€lemm. There are reports that he was jilted by 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xi 

a certain ''Mary"; that he salved his injured 
feelings by publishing in a Baltimore paper a 

poem on her fickleness, entitled "To Mary "; 

and that he horsewhipped the lady's uncle who 
called him to account for his action.* 

On October 12, 1833, Poe won the story prize 
of a hundred dollars offered by the Baltimore 
Visiter, with his "MS. Found in a Bottle." 

1834. On March 27, Mr. Allan died of 
dropsy, leaving nothing to his adopted son. 

On September 22, Edgar Allan Poe married 
his aunt Maria's daughter, Virginia Clemm, in 
Baltimore. At that time she was in her thir- 
teenth year, and he in his twenty-sixth. 

1835. "Berenice" was published in the 
March number of the Southern Literary Mes- 
senger, of Richmond. Poe soon after was en- 
gaged by the paper as critical reviewer, on the 
recommendation of John P. Kennedy, author of 
"Horseshoe Robinson," and one of the judges 
in the prize story contest of the Baltimore 
Visiter. 

In September, Poe, with his wife and wife's 
mother, is found in Richmond, where he had 
been engaged as literary editor of the Messenger 
on a salary of $520 a year, which was soon in- 
creased to $800. Up to this month Poe had con- 
tributed nine articles to the Messenger: "Mo- 
rella," "Lionizing," "Hans Pfaall," "The As- 
signation (The Visionary)," "The Coliseum" 

* "See article " Poe's Mary " ia Harper's Magazine for 
March, 1889. 



xii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

(poem), **Bon-Bon/' '^Shadow," ^'Loss of 
Breath/' and ''King Pest." 

1835-36. From December, 1885, to November, 
1836, Poe contributed eighteen articles to the 
Messenger^ including "Metzengerstein,"'* Scenes 
from Politian" (poem), ''The Due De L 'Ome- 
lette,'' "Four Beasts in One (Epimanes)," and 
*'A Tale of Jerusalem." 

1837. In January, Poe severed his connection 
with the Messenger. During his editorship the 
magazine had increased in circulation from 700 
to 5,000, and had achieved a national reputation, 
especially as a critical review. 

In January and February, the Messenger pub- 
lished the beginning of the "Narrative of A. 
Gordon Pjan." 

In JanuarA^, Poe came to New York with his 
family, and soon after is found in a house at 
1134 Carmine street, where Mrs. Clemm took in 
boarders. Here Poe completed the "Narrative 
of A. Gordon P;\tii. ' ' 

1838. The "Narrative of A. Gordon Pym" 
was published by Harper Brothers, New York, 
and reprinted by the Putnams in London, where 
it was taken bj many to be a true story of dis- 
covery. 

During the year, Poe removed with his family 
to Philadelphia, at that time the center of liter- 
ary activity in America. Here he remained un- 
til 1844. His work during this period was con- 
tributed chiefly to Philadelphia publications. 
In the August number of the American Museum 
appeared "Ligeia," and in the December num- 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xiii 

ber, * ' How to Write a Blackwood Article, ' ' and 
''A Predicament (The Scjthe of Time)." 

1839. Early in the year ' ' Silence : A Fable, ' * 
was published in the Baltimore Book; and ' ' The 
Devil in the Belfry" in the Philadelphia Satur- 
day Chrmiicle and Mirror of the Times, for May. 
Poe was at this period a literary hack, doing 
such tasks as supplying the text for an illustrated 
work on eonchology. 

During this year, Poe began to contribute to 
the Gentleman's Magazine, owned by William E. 
Burton, a famous comedian and theatrical mana- 
ger. Besides a number of poems there appeared 
in the magazine ''The Fall of the House of 
Usher" (September), "William Wilson" (Octo- 
ber), "Morella" (November), "The Conversa- 
tion of Eiros and Charmion" (December). 

1840. "Tales of the Grotesque and Ara- 
besque," by Edgar A. Poe, in two volumes, ap- 
peared from the press of Lea & Blanchard, 
Philadelphia. This was a republication of the 
chief of those tales already mentioned. 

"The Man of the Crowd" appeared in the 
Gentleman's Magazine for December. 

Poe fell out with Burton, whose editor he had 
become, and contemplated starting a magazine 
of his own. A prospectus was issued announcing 
that the Penn MontJily, Edgar A. Poe, editor, 
would appear January 1, 1841. The enterprise 
did not advance beyond the prospectus. 

1841. Burton sold his Gentleman's Magazine 
to George R. Graham, to be combined with the 
latter 's Casket, and appear as Graham's Maga- 



xiv WORKS OF EDGAK ALLAN POE 

zine. Burton generously stipulated that his 
*' young editor'' should be "taken care of" 
in the new periodical. Graham^s Magazine, 
under Poe's editorship, increased its circulation 
from 5,000 to 37,000. In it were published 
''The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (April), '*A 
Descent into the Maelstrom" (May), ''The 
Island of the Fay" (June), "The CoUoquy of 
Monos and Una" (August), and "Never Bet the 
Devil Your Head" (September). "Three Sun- 
days in a Week" appeared in the Saturday 
Evening Post for November 27. During this 
year Poe studied and wrote much on the subject 
of cryptography or secret writing, solving no 
less than ninety-nine cryptograms of every va- 
riety which were sent him from all parts of the 
country. 

1842. In this year appeared in Graham^s 
Magazine "The Oval Portrait" (April) and 
''The Masque of the Red Death" (May); in 
The Gift, the tale "Eleonora," and in Snowden^s 
Lady's Companion "The Landscape Garden" 
(October), and two instalments of "The Mystery 
of Marie Roget" (November, December), the 
story being completed in the number for Febru- 
ary, 1843. 

1843. In April, Poe resigned his editorial po- 
sition upon Graham's Magazine, owing to his 
resentment at finding, on his return to the office 
after a short absence, that Graham had engaged 
Dr. Rufus W. Griswold as a temporary substi- 
tute. Again he contemplated issuing a new 
magazine, this time to be called The Stylus. 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xv 

Nothing came of the project. Then he tried for 
a government position and failed, owing, it is 
conjectured, to the general reputation he was 
beginning to acquire for "irregularities'* of con- 
duct. These ''irregularities" Poe ascribed in a 
letter written after the death of his wife, to his 
racking anxiety about her health. About this 
time she ruptured a blood vessel in singing ; fre- 
quent hemorrhages followed, and thereafter she 
remained an invalid whose death was constantly 
expected. In this year Poe contributed to the 
only numbers that ever appeared of James Rus- 
sell Lowell's Pioneer, ''The Tell-Tale Heart," a 
tale, (January), "Lenore," a poem, (February), 
and "The Rationale of Verse, "an essay, (March.) 
"The Pit and the Pendulum" appeared in The 
Gift early in the year. The Philadelphia Dollar 
Newspaper published June 21-28 "The Gold- 
Bug," the prize story of a contest conducted by 
the new publication. ' ' The Black Cat ' ' appeared 
in the Philadelphia United States Saturday Posi 
for August 19. 

During the year, Poe projected an edition of 
his tales, but only No. 1 ever appeared — "The 
Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe," 8vo, Phila- 
delphia. The volume was in paper covers, and 
contained "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" 
and "The Man that was Used Up." 

In November, Poe delivered a lecture in Phila- 
delphia on "The Poets and Poetry of America," 
in which his criticism of Griswold as editor and 
compiler is believed to have caused the enmity 



»vi WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

of the man who was to become his literary ex- 
ecutor. 

1844. In April, Poe is found in New York, 
residing in Greenwich street, near Rector. Here 
he wrote *'The Balloon-Hoax/* which, on its ap- 
pearance in the New York Sun, April 13, 1844, 
created a tremendous sensation. 

Other tales of the year were : ' ' The Elk (Morn- 
ing on the Wissahiccon)," which appeared in 
The Opal; ''A Tale of the Ragged Moun- 
tains," in Godey's Lady's Book for April ; ** Mes- 
meric Revelation," in the Columbian Magazine 
for August ; ' ' The Premature Burial, " in an un- 
identified Philadelphia publication; *'The Ob- 
long Box," in Godey's Lady's Book for Septem- 
ber ; * * The Angel of the Odd, ' ' in the Columbian 
Magazioie for October; ''Thou Art the Man," in 
Godey's Lady's Book for November; and ''The 
Literary Life of Thingum Bob, Esq.," in the 
Southern Literary Messenger for December. 

Poe's first engagement in New York was with 
Nathaniel P. Willis as critic and sub-editor upon 
the latter 's Evening Mirror. Willis thus de- 
scribes the method of Poe 's introduction to him : 

*' Our first knowledge of Mr. Poe's removal to this 
city was by a call which we received from a lady who in- 
troduced herself to us as the mother of his wife. She 
was in search of employment for him, and she excused 
her errand by mentioning that he was ill, that her daugh- 
ter was a confirmed invalid, and that their circumstances 
were such as compelled her taking it upon herself. The 
countenance of this lady, made beautiful and saintly with 
an evidently complete giving up of her life to privation 
and sorrowful tenderness, her gentle and mournful voice 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHYxvii 

urging its plea, her long-forgotten but habitually and 
unconsciously refined, manners, and her appealing and yet 
appreciative mention of the claims and abilities of her 
son, disclosed at once the presence of one of those angels 
upon earth that women in adversity can be. . . . 

" Mr. Poe was employed by us, for several months, a;* 
critic and sub-editor. This was our first personal ac- 
quaintance with him. He resided with his wife and 
mother at Fordham, a few miles out of tovm, but was at 
his desk in the office from nine in the morning till the 
evening paper went to press. With the highest admira- 
tion for his genius, and a willingness to let it atone for 
more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by common 
report to expect a very capricious attention to his duties, 
and occasionally a scene of violence and difficulty. Time 
went on, however, and he was invariably punctual and 
industrious. With his pale, beautiful, and intellectual 
face, as a reminder of what genius was in him, it was 
impossible, of course, not to treat him always vnth defer- 
ential courtesy, and, to our occasional request that he 
would not probe too deep in a criticism, or that he would 
erase a passage colored too highly with his resentments 
against society and mankind, he readily and courteously 
assented— far more yielding than most men, we thought, 
on points so excusably sensitive. With a prospect of tak- 
ing the lead in another periodical, he, at last, voluntarily 
gave up his employment with us, and, through all this 
considerable period, we had seen but one presentment of 
the man— a quiet, patient, industrious, and most gentle- 
manly person, commanding the utmost respect and good 
feeling by his unvarying deportment and ability. ' ' 

1845. It was in the Evening Mirror that 
*'The Raven" appeared on January 29. Within 
the year Poe published it in five other slightly 
variant editions. One of these was as the first 
poem of a duodecimo collection of verse entitled 
"The Raven and Other Poems. By Edgar A. 
Poe. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1845." 
I. 2 



xviii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

This volume had a companion in "Tales by Ed- 
gar A. Poe," issued at the same time by the same 
publishers. The collection of verse was dedi- 
cated to Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, whose en- 
thusiastic admiration, as well as that of Robert 
Browning, whom she was shortly to marry, had 
been elicited by "The Raven.'' Indeed, the 
whole world of letters had been stirred to its 
center by the poem. In France a Poe cult be- 
gan. Charles Baudelaire, author of ' ' Les Fleurs 
du Mai, ' ' translated the American poet in a spirit 
and with a technique worthy of his master; 
Mallarme, later, reproduced "The Raven" in 
magnificent form; and the engraver Quantin 
published a series of illustrations of Poe 's Tales* 
engraved from pictures by leading French art- 
ists. Later, Gustave Dore illustrated "The 
Raven. ' ' 

* The Raven " had been composed some time 
before 1845 at a country homestead whose 
site is now occupied by a factory on Eighty- 
fourth street, between Amsterdam avenue and 
Broadway, New York. The homestead was 
owned by Patrick Brennan, who in the summer 
of 1843 received as guests Poe and his wife and 
his mother-in-law. 

The "other periodical" referred to by Willis 
as the one for which Poe left the Evening Mirror y 
was The Broadway Journal. This periodical 
Poe published in conjunction with Messrs. 
Briggs, Brisco, and Watson until towards the 

♦ Eight of these form the frontispieces of Vols. II. to IX.. of 
the present edition. — Editor. 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xix 

end of the year. In it he reprinted, with careful 
revision, the larger number of his previously 
published tales and poems, and here he conducted 
his bitter attack on ** Longfellow and other 
plagiarists. ' ' 

In the same year were published **The Pur- 
loined Letter'' {The Gift) ; **The Thousand and 
Second Tale of Scheherazade" (Godey^s Lady^s 
Book for February); ''Some Words with a 
Mummy" {American Whig Review for April) ; 
**The Power of Words" {Democratic Review for 
June) ; ''The Imp of the Perverse" {Graham's 
Magazine for July) ; "The System of Dr. Tarr 
and Prof. Fether" {Graham's Magazine for No- 
vember) ; and "The Facts in the Case of M. Val- 
demsLv'^ American Whig Review for December), 

On December 26, Poe announced the demise 
of the Broadway Journal, "the objects being ful- 
filled, as far as regards myself personally, for 
which Fit] was established." 

1846. During the winter of 1845-46, Poe be- 
came a social lion, receiving many invitations to 
recite ' ' The Raven ' ' and other of his poems. It 
was probably to satisfy the universal inquiry of 
how he came to write the famous poem, that he 
wrote an article on "The Philosophy of Compo- 
sition," which appeared in Graham's Magazine 
for April. 

From May to October he contributed to 
Godey's Lady's Booh a series of articles on "The 
Literati," in which thirty-eight American men 
and women of letters were discussed in frank and 
crisp and thoroughly characteristic style. One 



XX WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

article on Thomas Dunn Brown [English], the 
author of **Ben Bolt," called forth a rejoinder 
from Mr. Brown in which Poe's personal char- 
acter was attacked. Poe brought suit and re- 
covered $225 in damages. With this money he 
furnished a little Dutch cottage* at Fordham, 
Westchester County, N. Y., then, as now, a resi- 
dential suburb of the metropolis. Hither he re- 
moved in early summer from Amity street, New 
York. 

As autumn came on Virginia, the wife of Poe, 
sank rapidly in consumption. The Poes were 
very poor, and charitable friends came to their 
aid. Among these was Marie Louise Shew (af- 
terwards Mrs. Houghton) to whom the grateful 

Poe addressed a poem ''To M. L. S ," which 

appeared in the Home Journal for March 13, 
1847. In 1848 he wrote her another poem, ' ' To 

." [Marie Louise]. It was she who 

suggested to the poet the subject of "The Bells." 

1847. Virginia Poe died January 30. The 
effect of the sad event on her husband is strik- 
ingly indicated by the fact that he published but 
three articles of literary value, the poem to Mrs. 
Shew already referred to ; ' * The Domain of Arn- 
heim" (Columbian Magazine for March), an en- 
largement of ''The Landscape Garden"; and 
"Ulalume," {American Whig Review for De- 
cember) . 

1848. All this while, however, Poe was cogi- 
tating on great themes, broad as the universe and 
infinite as eternitj^ The result was ** Eureka," 

• See frontispiece to Vol. X., present edition. — Edit02, 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xxi 

delivered as a lecture early in 1848, with the 
proceeds of which Poe hoped to launch his old 
project of The Stylus. As a leeture the work 
proved a sad failure. Poe then had it published 
in book form (Geo. P. Putnam, New York, l'i48. 
pp. 143. 12mo. Republished in London by 
Chapman). 

''Eureka" has been variously criticised by 
Poe 's editors, some calling it one of his ' ' pseudo- 
scientific" hoaxes, and others, a work of pro- 
found philosophy. In all his conversations and 
correspondence touching upon it Poe certainly 
took the most reverent and even rapturous at- 
titude toward what in its preface he denominated 
a "Book of Truths," a "Prose Poem." In one 
letter he gives the following synopsis of its argu- 
ment: 

General Proposition. Because nothing was, there- 
fore all things are. 

1. An inspection of the universality of gravitation— of 
the fact that every particle tends not to any one common 
point, but to every other particle, suggests perfect totality 
of absolute unity as the source of the phenomenon. 

2. Gravity is but the mode in which is manifested the 
tendency of all things to return into their original unity. 

3. I show that the law of the return— i.e., the law of 
gravity— is but a necessary result of the necessary and 
sole possible mode of equable irradiation of matter 
through a limited space. 

4. Were the universe of stars (contradistinguished 
from the universe of space) unlimited, no worlds could 
exist. 

5. I show that unity is nothingness. 

6. All matter, springing from unity, sprang from noth- 
ingness, i.e., was created. 

7. All will return to unity, i.e., to nothingness. 



xxii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Early in 1848, Poe received an anonymous 
poetic valentine. Later in the year, when on a 
lecture tour, he met the writer, Mrs. Sarah Helen 
Whitman, at her home in Providence, R. I. They 
became engaged to marry, but the intervention 
of her friends, who were alarmed at reports of 
Poe^s bad habits and eccentricities, broke off the 
match. In later years (1860) she published a 
book ''Edgar Poe and his Critics," in which the 
character of her lover is loyally defended. 

1849, During this, the last year of his life, 
Poe published little else than poems to 
those women who were near to him or dear to 
his memory: "To My Mother" (Mrs. Clemm), 
published in the Flag of Our Union; "A 
Valentine," an acrostic to Frances Sargent 
Osgood, published in Sartain's Union Magazine 
for March; ''For Annie" (Mrs. Richmond, of 
Lowell, Mass.), published in the Flag of Our 
Union f and "Annabel Lee" (claimed by Mrs. 
Whitman to have been evoked by one of her 
poems) , referring to his dead wife. It was print- 
ed by the New York Tribune October 9, just 
after the news came of the author's death. "The 
Bells," already referred to as originating in a 
suggestion of Mrs. Shew, appeared after Poe's 
death in Sartain's Union Magazine for No- 
vember. 

In June, Poe left New York for a trip to Rich- 
mond. He stopped at Philadelphia with John 
Sartain, the artist and publisher, where Poe ex- 
hibited signs of dementia. Three weeks after 
leaving New York he is found in Richmond, 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHYxxiii 

seemingly well and sane. Evidently with the 
purpose of starting The Stylus with the lady's 
money, he renewed his addresses to an old flame 
of his boyhood days (Miss Royster), who was 
now a well-to-do widow (Mrs. Shelton). 

He was feted by Richmond citizens, and a sub- 
scription lecture (''The Poetic Principle," pub- 
lished, after his death, in Sartain's Union Maga^ 
zine for October, 1850) was arranged for him. 

With the proceeds of this lecture ($1500) Poe 
started north. He reached Baltimore during an 
election. Whether he went upon a debauch, or 
was drugged by political agents to be used as a 
*' repeater" — both explanations are offered — on 
the night of Wednesday, October 3, he was taken 
to a hospital on North Broadway, suffering from 
a violent brain fever. Here, without recovering 
consciousness according to some witnesses, with 
lucid intervals according to others, he lingered 
until death came, on Sunday morning, October 7. 

With Mrs. Maria Poe Clemm, his aunt and 
mother-in-law, Edgar Allan Poe lies buried be- 
neath the Poe monument erected November 17, 
1875, at Baltimore. 

EDITIONS OP POE'S WORKS 

1849-56. Dr. Rufus Wilmot Griswold, whom 
Poe had made his literary executor, copyrighted 
in 1849, and published in 1850, an edition in four 
volumes of ''The Works of the Late Edgar Allan 
Poe," vnth a memoir by Griswold, and "notices 
of his life and genius by N. P. Willis and J. R. 
Lowell." The memoir maligned the personal 



xxiv WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOB 

character of Poe, and grossly erred in its state- 
ments of fact. In 1853 Griswold issued an edi- 
tion in three volumes, with a preface by Mrs. 
Maria Clemm, and in 1856 published a final edi- 
tion in four volumes. 

In 1880y John H. Ingram, an Englishman, pub- 
lished an edition in four volumes of "The Tales 
and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe" (John C. 
Nimmo, London) . This edition was as laudatory 
of Poe as Griswold 's had been derogatory. 

In 1S84, Richard Henry Stoddard edited the 
*'Fordham Edition" of the works of Poe (Arm- 
strong & Son, New York). His work is 
founded on Griswold. 

In 1895, Edmund Clarence Stedman and Pro- 
fessor George E. Woodberry (the author of a 
Life of Poe, 1884), gathered, from original 
sources, the best collection of the works of Poe 
that had hitherto been issued. It was published 
by Stone & Kimball, of Chicago. 

In 190,2, Professor Charles F. Richardson 
edited the "Booklovers' Arnheim Edition" of 
Poe's works (G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York), 
the most beautiful typographically of all the col- 
lections. 

In the same year, James A. Harrison, profes- 
sor in Poe 's own University of Virginia, brought 
out "The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe" 
(T. Y. Crowell & Co., New York), a monumental 
work, comprehending, seemingly, every scrap of 
writing that Poe ever published. The data of 
the present article have been derived largely 
from its exhaustive and voluminous biography 



BIOGRAPHY AND BIBLIOGRAPHY xxv 

and bibliography, the material for which Pro- 
feiisor Harrison drew from preceding lives of 
Poe, such as that by W. Fearing Gill (Chatto, 
London, 1877), the correspondence and reminis- 
cences of acquaintances of Poe, university 
archives, etc., etc. 

The present edition is intended for the book 
reader, rather than the book collector. It con- 
tains all of the poems unquestionably written by 
Poe; every known work of his in the nature of 
fiction save one, ''The Journal of Julius Rod- 
man," an incomplete and rather stupid story of 
western adventure published anonymously as a 
serial in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine during 
1840, and discovered by Professor Harrison to be 
Poe's work; Poe's philosophical essays, and 
such critical articles as have enduring value — 
nearly all that are omitted dealing with the more 
or less ephemeral books and authors of the day. 

The works of Poe are presented, so far as pos- 
sible, in topical arrangement. The lines of de- 
marcation between tales of adventure, of mys- 
tery, of horror, of fantasy, and of Poe 's peculiar 
order of extravagant humor, are very difficult to 
establish, as Poe himself recognized when he 
gave his own edition the comprehensive, but 
aptly descriptive title, ** Tales of the Grotesque 
and Arabesque. ' ^ 



INTRODUCTION— THE ART AND 
GENIUS OF POE 



BY EDWIN MAKKHAM 



Edgar Allan Poe is the most tragic figure in 
our literary history, and the figure that casts 
from our shores the longest shadow across the 
world. He was a great intellect and a sad heart. 

He has left one of the two or three most magi- 
cal and compelling collections of tales written 
since the Arabian Nights — tales of ratiocination 
and of mystery, a collection that fascinates us 
like the Alhambra under moon and cloud, with 
the dark splendor of its halls, its spacious courts, 
its lofty pillars, its labyrinthine passages. 

He has left us also our first body of significant 
American criticism: reviews, too often, of no- 
bodies, the ephemera of letters ; reviews written 
in haste to keep the bubble on the pot, yet un- 
purchasable and inflexible in loyalty to letters. 
Discussion of these matters would make a long 
and important paper by itselt. But it is '^f the 
poetry alone that we must here speak. 

Poe, like Gray and Keats, has given us only a 
frugal volume of verse, and yet like these poets 

xxvi 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxvh 

he has left a precious and priceless possession to 
mankind. America has no one but Emerson 
and Lowell to contest his poetical primacy. 

Poe brought to the art of poetry an acute 
analytical mind, and a vivid feeling for form, as 
well as a shaping imagination and a passionate 
love of beauty. He willed to build his structure 
of verse upon poetic laws as exact as those that 
swing the planets in their orbits. He has the 
distinction of being the only American who, like 
Coleridge and Wordsworth in England, and Biir- 
ger in Germany, had a definite theory of poetry 
and rigorously followed it. 

Poe declares that the origin of poetry lies in a 
thirst for a wilder Beauty than Earth supplies 
— that poetry itself is the imperfect effort to 
quench this immortal thirst. He defines the 
poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of 
beauty, and avers that the sole arbiter is Taste, 
which stands between Pure Intellect and the 
Moral Sense. That pleasure, he says, which is at 
once the most pure, the most elevating and the 
most intense, is derived from the contemplation 
of the Beautiful. Only in the contemplation of 
Beauty do we attain that elevation of the soul 
which we recognize as the Poetic Sentiment, and 
which is distinguished from Truth, which is the 
satisfaction of the Reason, and from Passion, 
which is the excitement of the Heart. 

The fervors of passion, or even the lessons of 
truth, may go into a poem; but they must be 
toned down in proper subjection to that Beauty 
which is the atmosphere and real essence of the 



xxviiiWORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

poem. It goes without saying, then, that Poe 
stood for **art for art's sake," that he set his 
face inflexibly against the heresy of *'The Di- 
dactic. ' ' He would not have it that the ultimate 
object of poetry is truth, that every poem should 
preach a moral. Poe was certainly right: a 
poem built in beauty is its own excuse for being. 
For the soul is enlarged not so much by mere 
dnowledge or bare skeleton of truth, as by the 
kilation of the imagination. The path through 
beauty is the most direct path of ascension to the 
Divine. 

This lofty and noble conception of poetry 
was doubtless in the mind of young Poe, however 
dimly, when in 1827 he issued his first trembling 
little volume of verse, ** Tamerlane and Other 
Poems" — a volume attempted again in 1829, 
and finally, in 1831, republished with many deft 
touches of the revising tool. 

The long poem ** Tamerlane" shows, as in 
Marlowe 's case, that the lean of the young poet 's 
soul was toward vastness and splendor. The 
manner of the poem is dominated by Byron, that 
plunging planet that was then disturbing the 
poise of so many lesser luminaries in the poetic 
sky. **A1 Aaraaf," a dullish story of a purga- 
tory, placed on Tycho Brahe's wonderful lost 
star, suggests the specious learning and the 
forced sentiment in **Lalla Rookh." 

In Poe's 1831 volume we find ''Israfel," ''The 
Doomed City," ''To Helen," "Irene," and 
"The Pgean," — poems that were revised in the 
course of years and are now known as ' ' Israf el, * ' 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxix 

*'The City in the Sea," ''To Helen," "The 
Sleeper," and "Lenore." 

Around the last three of these poems hangs the 
darkness of the most tragic event in Poe's early 
life, the death of Mrs. Stanard, the mother of 
a schoolboy friend. When young Poe first met 
this lovely woman she took him by the hand 
and spoke to him in tender words of greet- 
ing and sympathy. We are told that he was so 
penetrated by her gracious words that he was de- 
prived of the power of speech, almost of con- 
sciousness, and that he returned home in a 
dream, hearing the voice that had made the deso- 
late world so suddenly beautiful. She became the 
comforter of his boyish griefs and the Helen of 
his early song. When she died his heart was 
inconsolable, and found voice in ''The Sleeper," 
a poem drenched with the mystery, the ethereal 
beauty of a summer night. Forever the beauti- 
ful dead lies there tranced in silentness and per- 
fect peace. ^j 

In "Lenore" Poe speaks again of the beloved 
dead. It is not a homely cry of the heart, but 
a burst of martial bugles. Amid the perfections 
of this poem, however, is one inexcusable blemish, 
a bald phrase of the prose man — ' ' And when she 
fell in feeble health." Here is a mud-ball stuck 
upon the radiant front of the rainbow. But 
even this flaw is half forgotten in the stately 
repetends and musical marches of the poem. In 
** Lenore" the poet no longer peers and wonders. 
From a height of exultation he hurls down de- 
fiance upon the grim warders of death: 



XXX WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

" Ava>mt ! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will 1 

upraise, 
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old 



At last, in his ''Helen,'' the dead woman be- 
comes to the poet the eidolon of supernal beauty : 

** Helen, thy beauty is to me 

Like those NicSan barks of yore, 

That gently, o 'er a perfumed sea. 
The weary, way-worn wanderer bore 
To his own native shore." 

The poem contains two superb lines, where adl 
are beautiful. In the early form of the verses, 
the two lines ran thus : 

" To the beauty of fair Greece 
And the grandeur of old Rome." 

This mediocre couplet was afterward trans- 
figured into 

*' To the glory that was Greece, 

And the grandeur that was Rome " — 

two mighty lines that compress into a brief space 
all the rich, high, magnificence of dead cen- 
turies. The change of a few words and what a 
chasmal change in the sound and splendor of a 
line! Poe never surpassed the serene exaltation 
and divine poise of this poem. It shows his pas- 
sion for a crystalline perfection. Save for a false 
rhyme and a dubious phrase or two, the poem is 
perfect, inevitable, having the careless ease of a 
young lily swaying on the stem. In its wander- 
ing music and flower-like freshness of form, it 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxxi 

stands with the deathless lyrics; with ^' Tears, 
Idle Tears," ''Rose Aylmer," and the rest 

"The Raven," written many years later than 
these early lyrics to beauty and death, is the 
final threnody in memory of his lost Lenore, once 
the qneenliest dead, but now elected to live im- 
mortally young in his somber palaces of song. 
**The Raven" has gone into the languages of 
many nations as a requiem of imperial affliction, 
a poem that takes rank with the unworded and 
unearthly harmonies of *'The Dead March in 
Saul." 

How did it spring into existence, this struc- 
ture of mystery and grief t The idea in a work 
of genius frequently rises from some chance word 
or incident that falls into the artist's life, — the 
remark of a friend, the look of a face. Genius 
is the power to take a hint. Whence did Poe 
get the idea of the Stygian raven of his poem? 
Perhaps from the raven in Dickens' "Bamaby 
Rudge." 

Poe is known to have made a magazine study 
of this novel, suggesting a better use of the bird 
as a character, saying: "The raven, too, might 
have been made more than we now see it, a por- 
tion of the conception of the fantastic Barnaby. 
Its croakings might have been prophetically 
heard in the course of the drama. Its character 
mig-ht have performed in regard to that of the 
idiot, much the same part as does in music the 
accompaniment in respect to the air." — Here 
Poe outlines a use of ' ' this ungainly fowl ' ' which 
later on he actually makes in his famous poem. 



xxxii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The early poem "Lenore*' is the first study of 
the Raven thesis, and in it we find the sonorous 
name Lenore, a name which may have been 
wafted to his mind from Biirger's ballad of 
** Lenore," which had attracted the attention of 
England in the early years of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. Doubtlesss Poe found the suggestion of 
his meter in Mrs. Browning 's ' * The Courtship of 
Lady Geraldine, ' ' where we find a line — 

" With a murmurous stir uncertain in the air, a purple 
curtain" — 

which' sounds strangely like one of the lines in 
''The Raven." But the originality of Poe's 
poem is not shaken by the critics, who have sifted 
the world to find its sources. What he borrows 
becomes bone of his intellectual bone. Casual 
borrowings by a poet are justifiable, when they 
are assimilated, when they suffer a sea-change 
into a rarer beauty. If he finds brick he must 
leave it marble. 

Some of the phrasings of the poem, such as 
**Sir, said I, or madam;" ** little relevancy 
bore;" ''the fact is I was napping" — such col- 
loquialisms seem to disturb the austere tone of 
the poem. But I would not wish these oddities 
removed. These colors of every-day, these glints 
of the grotesque, flashing upon the background 
of the poem, help to heighten the final impression 
of tragic mystery. Nor need we be concerned 
greatly that the poet says that the shadow of the 
raven ' ' lies floating on the floor, ' ' when the bird 
is described as sitting on a bust above the door, 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxxiii 

and presumably above the lamp. Such flaws 
serve to shake a little the verisimilitude and strict 
organic unity of the poem. But they do not dis- 
turb its extraordinary elevation and somber 
beauty. 

In ''The Philosophy of Composition,"* Poe 
gives his own statement of the laws and processes 
which he claims to have followed in the composi- 
tion of *'The Raven." He makes the work of 
construction appear as simple as fence-building. 
His explanation, at first blush, sounds forced and 
inadequate, a mere riot of mystification; and 
yet there may be a measure of truth in the ex- 
planation, seeing that Poe had a highly ana- 
lytical mind and a strict theory of poetics. It 
was natural to the man to attempt to balance the 
wings of his imagination with the weight of his 
intellect. 

However all this may be, it is clear that his 
explanation does not explain the core of the 
matter: the secret of the secret is not disclosed.. 
He does not tell us where he found the music, 
the fire, the shaping imagination. So after all 
is said, we can still call ''The Raven," not a. 
thing of rule and recipe, but a creation of the 
true frenzy, that carries a cry of the heart. 

There are noble lines in "The Raven," bat 
great lines, and even great passages, are not the 
chief test of a poem. The final test of a poem 
is its total impression. And the total impres- 
sion of ' ' The Raven, ' ' with its weird beauty and 
sustained energy, is deeply, nobly serious. 

♦Tbe article following this Introduction. 

I. 3 



xxxiv WORKS O^ EDGAH ALLAN POE 

In spite of all critical assaults, the poem stands 
secure in its dark immortality — safe among the 
few remarkable poems of the world. 

The ''Haunted Palace" was in Poe's day the 
subject of a hot controversy, many believing 
(Poe leading the host) that Longfellow had 
taken from this poem his idea for ' ' The Beleag- 
uered City." Others again affirmed that both 
poets had got their inspiration from Tenny- 
son's "Deserted House." Poe's poem is an al- 
legory of a mind in ruins, a poem terribly beauti- 
ful, whose words seem to come in stately batal- 
lions, with bugles blowing. It tells of a splendid 
palace : 

** Banners yellow, glorious, golden, 

On its roof did float and flow, 
(This — all this — was in the olden 

Time long ago.) 
And every gentle air that dallied, 

In that sweet day, 
Along the ramparts plumed and palliA, 

A \\dnged odor went away." 

'^The Haunted Palace" is a sermon, but it is 
one where the poet furnishes only the text: the 
reader supplies the sermon. The poem ends with 
two powerful lines : 

** A hideous throng rush 'out forever 
And laugh — but smile no more.*' 

**Israfel," another of the lyrics descended 
from his youth, is full oi the rush of silver 



ART AND GENIUS OF POB xxxr 

phrases, the careless music of a young god. It is 
ungracious, perhaps, to cavil at a dint in thi» 
lyric gold; but it does seem that the second 
stanza jars upon the high harmony of this song. 
Certainly the word "even" is an ineffectual 
rhyme; and the remark concerning "the enam- 
ored moon" blushing with love has the ring of 
sentimentality instead of sentiment. It is the 
paint of emotion, not the fire. One is sensitive to^ 
these defects since the poem, as a whole, is trem- 
ulous with a beauty wilder than the beauty of 
Earth. Here is no thought of the loved and un- 
retuming dead, no mood of inconsolable mem- 
ories. The soul is thrilled as with a rush of rap- 
tures from a rift in the delicate sky of morning. 

Browning in "Abt Vogler," Coleridge in 
"Kubla Khan," have built up fair imaginations 
of tower and dome and minaret, but the wizardry 
of Poe in his "City in the Sea" has left us the 
most rare, the most mysterious, of all such ethe- 
real structures. This city in the dim, still, west- 
ern sea is the throned place of Death, where are 
gathered in long night-times the souls that have 
passed through the body. 

The description of the gloomy light of the 
lurid waters upon the lofty, pallid walls fretted 
with garlands of carven stone — garlands of 
"viol, violet, and vine." is builded up with a 
curious care that sends upon the mind the sense 
of the delicate austerities of the Parthenon. 
Never before has the "palpable obscure" been 
bodied forth with a more cunning and gloomy 
imagination, than in this fantasy of a city iso- 



xxxviWORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

lated, accursed, laved by seas '* hideously serene/' 
where from his central tower, 

"* Death looks gigantically down.'* 

The music of the opening stanza is in Poe's 
best manner of ' ' sonorous metal, blowing martial 
sounds." The last stanza gives an example of 
music muted and retarded to echo the sense, car- 
rying out the idea of the dull tide, the feeble stir, 
the gradual hissing and bubbling of the slow set- 
tling and sinking of the lost and lamentable city. 

Poe 's ' ' Bells ' ' is the finest example in our lan- 
guage of the suggestive power of rhyme and of 
the echo of sound to sense. It is hardly credible 
that the poet who conceived this fantasy with its 
fine madness, could have written "For Annie/' 
one of the poems composed in those dark, last 
days when life was stretching before him like a 
rainy sea. On its constructive side it is a fugue, 
from which proceeds a haunting music. But 
what can we say severe enough of the poetry of 
:such verses as these ? 

" Of a water that flows 

With a lullaby sound 
From a spring but a very few 

Feet under ground,— 
From a cavern not very far 

Down underground." 

** Annabel Lee,'' perhaps the simplest of Poe's 
ballads, and one inspired by his lost Virginia, is 
full of little winds of melody and touches of 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxxvii 

ideal light. It is a poetical version of his 
prose idyl, *'The Valley of the Many-Colored 
Grass"* and it forms the final page of his lyri- 
cal ritual of bereaved love. 

Poe is aloof from nature ; he withdraws from 
actuality into the perilous hollow kingdom of 
Childe Roland of the Dark Tower, into **the 
dim, deserted courts where Dis bears sway.'* 
Yet each of Poe's poems has a basis in life. 
Even his **Ulalume" — frailest of cloud struc- 
tures — is not pillared all in air, although its 
mysticism seems stretched to the breaking point. 
I find momentous meaning in its gray obscurity 
— a deep drama of temptation and memory. As 
elsewhere, Poe's habit of personification gives a 
clue to the mystery. The poem chronicles in 
symbol the collision between an ignoble passion 
and the memory of an ideal love. 

The poet wanders under the moon with Psyche 
his soul — Psyche the obscure voice of conscience. 
He is down by the dark tarn of Auber, in the 
woodland of Weir, the misty region of sorrowful 
remembrance. About him are wide, desolate 
landscapes; above him, drear, ash-colored au- 
tumnal skies, all suggestive of the aloneness and 
desolation of each man's soul in his inward bat- 
tle. Once before he had wandered here under 
the cypresses when his heart was hot and vol- 
canic with sorrow for his lost love, but now his 
memory is clouded. 

As the night wanes he beholds the orb of As- 

•"Eleonora." 



xxxviii WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

tarte, the goddess of carnal love. He feels that 
she is touched by his sorrow, 

* * And has come past the stars of the Lioa 
To point us the path to the "^'-^ " 



Psyche protests and urges flight from tempta- 
tion. The poet persists and quiets her scruples, 
and the two pass on till stopped by a tomb across 
the road — the tomb of his lost Ulalume. Sud* 
denly he sees that his temptation has been of the 
demon. He is confronted and recalled to honor 
by the chaste memory of his lost love — his love 
for one wild hour forgotten. 

./* Ulalume" has been reviled as doggerel run 
■xnad, and exalted as a miracle of melody. It is 
certainly too labored and mechanical to carry 
emotional conviction. Li tone color it is like 
some wild improvisation, in a minor mood — some 
primitive Icelandic musical motif recurring over 
and over like the wash of surf on sandy shores. 

Technically ** Ulalume '* is a study in the use 
of the repetend. The two continually alternating 
rhymes of each nine-line stanza ; the close same- 
ness, yet delicate variation, of the third and sec- 
ond lines, coming in like the sobbing catch of the 
breath; the lift and beat of the last four lines 
of each stanza, two of the lines altered but a 
breve, a shade, a hint, from the other two — all 
these tonal effects strike upon the ear like the fall 
and echo of far, faint, murmuring waters in 
some reverberating granite canyon of the Sierraa 

It is commonly thought that Poe's poetry is 
never touched by moral passion; yet ** Ulalume" 



ART AND GENIUS OF POE xxxix 

and ''The Haunted Palace^' are denials of this 
tradition. In them we find the poet grafted 
upon the preacher; but the sermons are strictly 
subordinated to the austere demands of art, 

Poe's range is narrow, his themes are few. 
Love, Beauty and Death — these are the springs 
of his inspiration. From all his finer verses 
break out again and again the sense of the ir- 
reparable and the cry of the Nevermore. Pierc- 
ing sweet are they at times, and wild with all 
regret and unforgettable while graves and mem- 
ories are the heritage of man. 



THE WORKS 

OF 

EDGAR ALLAN POE 



THE PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION 



[Published in Qraham's Magazirie, April, 1846.] 



Charles Dickens, in a note now lying before 
me, alluding to an examination I once made of 
the mechanism of ^'Barnaby Rudge," says — 
*'By the way, are you aware that Godwin wrote 
his 'Caleb Williams' backwards? He first in- 
volved his hero in a web of difficulties, forming 
the second volume, and then, for the first, cast 
about him for some mode of accounting for what 
had been done. ' ' 

I cannot think this the precise mode of pro- 
cedure on the part of Godwin — and indeed what 
he himself acknowledges, is not altogether in ae- 
cordance with Mr. Dickens' idea — but the author 
of ' ' Caleb Williams ' ' was too good an artist not 
to perceive the advantage derivable from at least 
a somewhat similar process. Nothing is more 
clear than that every plot, worth the name, must 
be elaborated to its denouement before any thing 
be attempted with the pen. It is only with the 
denouement constantly in view that we can give a 
plot its indispensable air of consequence, or caus- 
ation, by making the incidents, and especially 



4 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

the tone at all points, tend to the development of 
the intention. 

There is a radical error, I think, in the usual 
mode of constructing* a story. Either history af- 
fords a thesis — or one is suggested by an incident 
of the day — or, at best, the author sets himself 
to work in the combination of striking events to 
form merely the basis of his narrative — design- 
ing, generally, to fill in with description, dia- 
logue, or autorial comment, whatever crevices of 
fact, or action, may, from page to page, render 
themselves apparent. 

I prefer commencing with the consideration of 
an effect. Keeping originality always in view — 
for he is false to himself who ventures to dis- 
pense with so obvious and so easily attainable a 
source of interest — I say to myself, in the first 
place, ''Of the innumerable effects, or impres- 
sions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more 
generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall 
I, on the present occasion, select?" Having 
chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect^ 
I consider whether it can be best wrought by in- 
cident or tone — whether by ordinary incidents 
and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculi- 
arity both of incident and tone — afterward look- 
ing about me (or rather within) for such combin- 
ations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in 
the construction of the effect. 

I have often thought how interesting a maga- 
zine paper might be written by any author who 
would — that it to say, who could — detail,' step by 
Btep, the processes by which any one of his com- 



PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION 5 

positions attained its ultimate point of comple- 
tion. Why such a paper has never been given ta 
the world, I am much at a loss to say — but, per- 
haps, the autorial vanity has had more to do with, 
the omission than any one other cause. Most 
writers — poets in especial — prefer having it un- 
derstood that they compose by a species of fine 
frenzy — an ecstatic intuition — and would posi- 
tively shudder at letting the public take a peep 
behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillat- 
ing crudities of thought — at the true purposes 
seized only at the last moment — at the innumer- 
able glimpses of idea that arrived not at the ma- 
turity of full view — at the fully matured fancies 
discarded in despair as unmanageable — at the 
cautioujs selections and rejections — at the painful 
erasures and interpolations — in a word, at the 
wheels and pinions — the tackle for scene-shifting 
— the step-ladders and demon-traps — the cock's 
feathers, the red paint and the black patches, 
which, in ninetj^-nine cases out of a hundred, con- 
stitute the proprieties of the literary histrio. 

I am aware, on the other hand, that the CWQ is 
by no means common, in which an author is at all 
in condition to retrace the steps by which his con- 
clusions have ^een attained. In general, sugges- 
tions, having arisen pell-mell, are pursued and 
forgotten in a similar manner. 

For my own part, I have neither sympathy 
with the repugnance alluded to, nor, at any time, 
the least difficulty in recalling to mind the pro- 
irressive steps of any of my compositions; and, 
since the interest of an analysis, or reconstriift- 



6 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POS 

tion, such as I have considered a desideratum, 
is quite liidependent of any real or fancied 
interest in the thing analyzed, it will not 
•be reg^arded as a breach of decorum on my 
part to show the modus operandi by which some 
one of my own works was put together. I seleet 
**The Raven" as most generally known. It is 
my design to render it manifest that no one point 
In its composition is referible either to accident 
or intuition — that the work proceeded, step by 
step, to its completion with the precision and 
rigid consequence of a mathematical problem. 

Let us dismiss, as irrelevant to the poem, per 
se, the circumstance — or say the necessity — 
whi«h, in the first place, gave rise to the intention 
of comprising a poem that should suit at once the 
popular and the critical taste. 
y^^Q commence, then, with this intentioiQ ^ 

The initial consideration was that of extent. 
If any literary work is too long to be read a*t one 
sitting, we must be content to dispense with the 
immensely important effect derivable from unity 
<»f impression — for, if two sittings be required, 
the affairs of the world interfere, and every 
thing like totality is at once destroyed. But 
-gince, ceteris paribus, no poet can afford to dis- 
pense with any thing that may advance his de- 
sign, it but remains to be seen whether there is, 
in extent, any advantage to counterbalance the 
loss of unity which attends it. Here I say no, at 
once. What we term a long poem is, in fact, 
merely a vsuccession of brief ones — that is to say, 
of brief poetical effects. It is needless to demon- 



PHILOSOPHY OF COIVIPOSITION 7 

strata that a poem is such, only inasmuch as it in- 
tensely excites, by elevating, the soul; and all 
intense excitements are, through a psychal neces- 
sity, brief. For this reason, at least one half of 
the "Paradise Lost" is essentially prose — a suc^ 
cession of poetical excitements interspersed, m- 
evitahly, with corresponding depressions — the 
whole being deprived, through the extremeness 
of its length, of the vastly important artistic ele- 
ment, totality, or unity, of effect. 

It appears evident, then, that there it a distinct 
limit, as regards length, to all works of literary 
art — the limit of a single sitting — and that, al- 
though in certain classes of prose composition^ 
such as "Robinson Crusoe," (demanding no 
unity,) this limit may be advantageously over- 
passed, it can never properly be overpassed in a 
poepi, Within this limit, the extent of a poem, 
may lie made to bear mathematical relation to its 
merit — in other words, to the excitement or ele- 
vation — again, in other words, to the degree of 
the true poetical effect which it is capable of in- 
ducing ; for it is clear that the brevity must be in 
direct ratio of the intensity of the intended ef- 
fect: — this, with one proviso — that a certain de- 
gree of duration is absolutely requisite for the- 
production of any eff'eet at all. 

Holding in view these considerations, as well 
as that degree of excitement which I deemed not 
above the popular, while not below the critical^ 
taste, I reached at once what I conceived the 
proper length for my intended poem — a length. 



8 WORKS OF EDGAE ALLAN POE 

of about one hundred lines. It is, in fact, a hun- 
dred and eight. 

My next thought concerned the choice of an 
impression, or effect, to be conveyed : and here I 
may as well observe that, throughout the con- 
struction, I kept steadily in view the design of 
rendering the work universally appreciable. I 
should be carried too far out of my immediate 
topic were I to demonstrate a point upon which I 
have repeatedly insisted, and which, with the 
poetical, stands not in the slightest need of dem- 
onstration — the point, I mean, that Beauty is 
the sole legitimate province of the poem. A few 
words, however, in elucidation of my real mean- 
ing, which some of my friends have evinced a dis- 
position to misrepresent. That pleasure which is 
at once the most intense, the most elevating, and 
ithe most pure, is, I believe, found in the contem- 
plation of the beautiful. N^When, indeed, men 
speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a 
jquality, as is supposed, but an effect — they refer, 
in short, just to that intense and pure elevation 
of soul-^not of intellect, or of heart — upon which 
I have commented, and which is experienced in 
consequence of contemplating ''the beautiful."/^ 
Now I designate Beauty as the province of the 
poem, merely because it is an obvious rule of Art 
that effects should be made to spring from direct 
causes — ^that objects should be attained through 
means best adapted for their attainment — no one 
as yet having been weak enough to deny that the 
peculiar elevation alluded to, is most readily at- 
tained in the poem. Now the abject, Truth, or 



PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION 9 

the satisfaction of the intellect, and the object 
Passion, or the excitement of the heart, are, al- 
though attainable, to a certain extent, in poetry, 
far more readily attainable in prose. Truth, in 
fact, demands a precision, and Passion a hoyneli- 
ness (the truly passionate will comprehend me) 
which are absolutely antagonistic to that Beauty 
which, I maintain, is the excitement, or pleasur- 
able elevation, of the soul. It by no means fol- 
lows from any thing here said, that passion, or 
even truth, may not be introduced, and even 
profitably introduced, into a poem — for they 
may serve in elucidation, or aid the general ef- 
fect, as do discords in music, by contrast — but 
the true artist will always contrive, first, to tone 
them into proper subservience to the predomi- 
nant aim, and, secondly, to enveil them, as far as 
possible, in that Beauty which is the atmosphere 
and the essence of the poem. 

Regarding, then. Beauty as my province, my 
next question referred to the tone of its highest 
manifestation — and all experience has shown 
that this tone is one of sadness. Beauty of what- 
ever kind, in its supreme development, invaria- 
bly excites the sensitive soul to tears. Melan- 
choly is thus the most legitimate of all the poet- 
ical tones. ) 

The length, the province, and the tone, being 
+I1US determined, I betook myself to ordinary in- 
duction, with the view of obtaining some artistic 
piquancy which might serve me as a key-note in 
the construction of the poem — some pivot upon 
which the whole structure might turn. In care- 
I. 4 



10 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

fully thinking over all the usual artistic effects — 
or more properly points, in the theatrical sense — 
I did not fail to perceive immediately that no one 
had been so universally employed as that of the 
refrain. The universality of its employment suf- 
ficed to assure me of its intrinsic value, and 
spared me the necessity of submitting it to anal- 
ysis. I considered it, however, with regard to its 
susceptibility of improvement, and soon saw it to 
be in a primitive condition. As commonly used, 
the refraiuy or burden, not only is limited to lyric 
verse, but depends for its impression upon the 
force of monotone — both in sound and thought. 
The pleasure is deduced solely from the sense of 
identity — of repetition. I resolved to diversify 
and so heighten, the effect, by adhering, in gen- 
eral, to the monotone of sound, while I continu- 
ally varied that of thought : that is to say, I de- 
termined to produce continuously novel effects, 
by the variation of the application of the refrain 
— the refrain itself remaining, for the most part, 
unvaried. y^^-'^-^-^.,^^ --^ ^ ^ 

These points being settlea, jT'next bethought 
me of the nature of my refrain. Since its appli- 
cation was to be repeatedly varied, it was clear 
that the refrain itself must be brief, for there 
would have been an insurmountable difficulty in 
frequent variations of application in any sen- 
tence of length. In proportion to the brevity of 
the sentence, would, of course, be the facility of 
the variation. This led me at once to a single 
word as the best refrain. 

The question now arose as to the character of 



PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION 11 

the ;vord. Having made up my mind to a re- 
frain, the division of the poem into stanzas, was, 
of course, a corollary: the refrain forming the 
close to each stanza. That such a close, to have 
force, must be sonorous and susceptible of pro- 
tracted emphasis, admitted no doubt: and these 
considerations inevitably led me to the long o as 
the most sonorous vowel, in connection with r as 
the most producible consonant. 

The sound of the refrain being thus deter- 
mined, it became necessary to select a word em- 
bodying this sound, and at the same time in the 
fullest possible keeping with that melancholy 
which I had predetermined as the tone of the 
poem. In such a search it would have been abso- 
lutely impossible to overlook the word ''Never- 
more. ' ' In fact, it was the very first which pre- 
sented itself. 

The next desideratum was a pretext for the 
continuous use of the one word "nevermore.'* 
In observing the difficulty which I at once found 
in inventing a sufficiently plausible reason for its 
continuous repetition, I did not fail to perceive 
that this difficulty arose solely from the pre- 
assumption that the word was to be so continu- 
ously or monotonously spoken by a human being 
— I did not fail to perceive, in short, that the 
difficulty lay in the reconciliation of this monot- 
ony with the exercise of reason on the part of the 
creature repeating the word. Here, then, imme- 
diately arose the idea of a won-reasoning crea- 
ture capable of speech; and, very naturally, a 



12 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally 
capable of speech, and inftaitely more in keeping 
with the intended tone. 

I had now gone so far as the conception of a 
Raven — the bird of ill omen — monotonously re- 
peating the one word, * ' Ne vermo re, ' ' at the con- 
jjlusion of each stanza, in'lSrpoem *of melancholy 
'one, and in length about one hundred lines. 
Now, never losing sight of the object supreme- 
]iess, or perfection, at all points, I asked myself 

' Of all melancholy topics, what, according to 
the universal understanding of mankind, is the 
^most melancholy ? ' ' Death — was the obvious re- 
ply. ''And when," I said^ "is the most melan- 
choly of topics most poetical?" From v^^hat I 
have already explained at some length, the an- 
swer, here, also, is obvious — ''When it most close- 
ly allies itself to Beauty: the death, then, of a 
beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most po- 
etical topic in the world — and equally is it be- 
yond doubt that the lips best suited for such 
topic are those of a bereaved loTer." 

I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover 
lamenting his deceased mistress and a Raven con- 
tinuously repeating the word "Nevermore." — 
I had to combine these, bearing in mind my de- 
sign of varying, at every turn, the application of 
the word repeated ; but the only intelligible mode 
of such combination is that of imagining the 
Raven employing the word in answer to the 
queries of the lover. And here it was that I 



PHILOSOPHY OF CO:^rPOSITION 13 

saw at once the opportunity afforded for the ef- 
fect on which I had been depending — that is to 
say, the effect of the variation of application. I 
saw that I could make the first query propounded 
by the lover — the first query to which the Raven 
should reply "Nevermore" — that I could make 
this first query a commonplace one — the second 
less so — the third still less, and so on — until at 
length the lover, startled from his original non- 
chalance by the melancholy character of the word 
itself — by its frequent repetition — and by a con- 
sideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl 
that uttertd it — is at length excited to super- 
stition, and A^ildly propounds queries of a far 
different character — queries whose solution he 
has passionately at heart — propounds them half 
in superstition and half in that species offclespair 
which delights in self-tortureVpropounds them 
not altogether because he beneves in the pro- 
phetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, 
reason assured him, is merely repeating a lesson 
learned by rote) but because he experiences a 
frenzied pleasure in so modeling his questions as 
to receive from the expected "Nevermore" the 
most delicious because the most intolerable of sor- 
row. Perceiving the opportunity thus afforded 
me — or, more strictly, thus forced upon me in 
the progress of the consti-uction — I first estab- 
lished in mind the climax, or concluding query 
— that quer^^ to which "Nevermore" should be 
in the last place an answer — that querv^ in reply ^- 
to which this word "Nevermore" should involve 



14 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

the utmost conceivable amount of sorrow and 
despair. 

Here then the poem may be said to have its 
beginning — at the end, where all works of art 
should begin — for it was here, at this point of 
my preconsiderations, that I first put pen to 
paper in the composition of the stanza: 

" Prophet," said I, " thing of evil ! prophet still il bird or 

devil ! 
By that heaven that bends above us — by that God we both 

adore, 
Tell this soul with sorrow laden, if within thef distant Aidenn, 
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Le- 

nore — 
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the ap::,els name Le- 

nore." 

Quoth the raven " Nevermore." 

I composed this stanza, at this point, first that, 
by establishing the climax, I might the better 
vary and graduate, as regards seriousness and 
importance, the preceding queries of the lover 

-and, secondly, that I might definitely settle 
"the rhythm, the metre, and the length and gen- 
eral arrangement of the stanza — as well as grad- 
uate the stanzas which were to precede, so that 
none of them might surpass this in rhythmical 
effect. Had I been able, in the subsequent com- 
position, to construct more vigorous stanzas, I 
should, without scruple, have purposely en- 
feebled them, so as not to interfere with the 
climacteric effect. 

And here I may as well say a few words of 
the versification. My first object (as usual) was 
originality. The extent to which this h^s been 
neglected, in versification, is one of the most un- 



PHILOSOPHY OF CO]^.IPOSITION 15 

r accountable things in the world. Admitting 
that there is little possibility of variety in mere 
rhythm, it is still clear that the possible varieties 
of metre and stanza are absolutely infinite — and 
yet, for centuries, no man, in verse, has ever 
/ done, or ever seemed to think of doing, an orig- 
4-- inal thing. The fact is, that originality (unless 
Qi) in minds of very unusual force) is by no means 
^ a matter, as some suppose, of impulse or in- 
S tuition. In general, to be found, it must be elab- 
^ orately sought, and although a positive merit of 
a> the highest class, demands in its attainment less 
^ of invention than negation. 
)0 Of course, I pretend to no originality in either 
the rhythm or metre of the "Raven." The 
former is trochaic — the latter is octameter acata- 
lectic, alternating with heptameter catalectic re- 
peated in the refrain of the fifth verse, and term- 
inating with tetrameter catalectic. Less pedan- 
tically — the feet employed throughout (troches) 
consist of a long syllable followed by a short: 
the first line of the stanza consists of eight of 
these feet — the second of seven and a half (in 
^ effect two-thirds) — the third of eight — the fourth 
r^ of seven and a half — the fifth the same — the 
sixth three and a half. Now, each of these lines, 
taken individually, has been employed before, 
and what originality the ''Raven" has, is in their 
combination into stanza; nothing even remotely 
approaching this combination has ever been at- 
tempted. The effect of this originality of com- 
bination is aided by other unusual, and some al- 



16 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

together novel effects, arising from an extension 
of the application of the principles of rhyme and 
alliteration. 

The next point to be considered was the mode 
of bringing together the lover and the Raven — 
and the first branch of this consideration was the 
locale. For this the most natural suggestion 
might seem to be a forest, or the fields — but it 
has always appeared to me that a close circum- 
scription of space is absolutely necessary to the 
effect of insulated incident: — it has the force 
of a frame to a picture. It has an indisputable 
moral power in keeping concentrated the atten- 
tion, and, of course, must not be confounded 
with mere unity of place. 

I determined, then, to place the lover in nis 
chamber — in a chamber rendered sacred to him 
by memories of her who had frequented it. The 
room is represented as richly furnished — this in 
mere pursuance of the ideas I have already ex- 
plained on the subject of Beauty, as the sole 
true poetical thesis. 

The locale being thus determined, I had now 
to introduce the bird — and the thought of intro- 
ducing him through the window, was inevitable. 
The idea of making the lover suppose, in the 
first instance, that the flapping of the wings of 
the bird against the shutter, is a "tapping" at 
the door, originated in a wish to increase, by 
prolonging, the reader's curiosity, and in a de- 
sire to admit the incidental effect arising from 
the lover's throwing open the door, finding all 



PHILOSOPHY OF COIVIPOSITION 17 

dark, and thence adopting the half -fancy that it 
was the spirit of his mistress that knocked. 

I made the night tempestuous, first, to account 
for the Raven 's seeking admission, and secondly, 
for the effect of contrast with the (physical) 
serenity within the chamber. 

I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, 
also for the effect of contrast between the marble 
and the plumage — it being understood that the 
bust was absolutely suggested by the bird — the 
bust of Pallas being chosen, first, as most in keep- 
ing with the scholarship of the lover, and, second- 
ly, for the sonorousness of the word, Pallas, it- 
self. 

About the middle of the poem, also, I have 
availed myself of the force of contrast, with a 
view of deepening the ultimate impression. Eiui— . 
example, an air of the fantastic — approaching as 
nearly to the ludicrous as was admissible — is 
given to the Raven's entrance^ He comes in 
**with many a flirt and flutter. 

Not the least obeisance made he — not a moment stopped or 

stayed he, 
But with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door. 

In the two stanzas which follow, the design 
is more obviously carried out: — 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling 
By the grave and stem decorum of the countenance it wore, 
" Though thy crest he shorn ojid shaven thou," I said, " art 

sure no craven. 
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the nightly 

shore — 
Tell me what thy lordly name Is on the Night's Plutonian 

shore? " 

Quoth the raven " Nevermore." 



18 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse s« 

plainly, 
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore ; 
For we cannet help agreeing that no living human being 
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above Ms chamber 

door — 
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber 

door. 

With such name as " Nevermore." 



The effect of th ^ denoue ment jh^m^ thus pro- 
vided for, I immediateiy drop the fantastic for 
a tone of the most profound seriousneae: — this 
tone commencing in the stanza directly follow- 
ing the one last quoted, with the line, 

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only, 
etc. 

From this epoch the lover no longer jests — no 
longer sees any thing even of the fantastic in 
the Raven's demeanor. He speaks of him as a 
**grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous 
bird of yore, ' ' and feels the ' ' fiery eyes ' ' burning 
into his ''bosom's core." This revolution of 
thought, or fancy, on the lover 's part, is intended 
to induce a similar one on the part of the reader 
— to bring the mind into a proper frame for the 
denouement — which is now brought about as rap- 
idly and as directly as possible. 

With the denouement proper — with the 
Raven's reply, "Nevermore," to the lover's final 
demand if he shall meet his mistress in another 
world — the poem, in its obvious phase, that of a 
simple narrative, may be said to have its com- 
pletion. So far, every thing is within the limits 
of the accountable — of the real. A raven, hav- 
ing learned by rote the single word ''Never- 



PHILOSOPHY OP COMPOSITION 19 

more," and having escaped from the custody of 
its owner, is driven at midnight, through the vio- 
lence of a storm, to seek admission at a window 
from which a light still gleams — the chamber- 
window of a student, occupied half in poring 
over a volume, half in dreami«ig of a beloved 
mistress deceased. The casement being thrown 
open at the fluttering of the bird's wings, the 
bird itself perches on the most convenient seat 
out of the immediate reach of the student, who, 
amused by the incident and the oddity of the 
visitor's demeanor, demands of it, in jest and 
without looking for a reply, its name. The raven 
addressed, answers with its customary word, 
*' Nevermore" — a word which finds immediate 
echo in the melancholy heart of the student, who, 
giving utterance aloud to certain thoughts sug- 
gested by the occasion, is again startled by the 
fowi's repetition of ''Nevermore." The student 
now guesses the state of the case, but is impelled, 
as I have before explained, by the human thirst 
fo r self-torture , and in part by s uperstition , to 
propound such queries to the bird as will bring 
him, the lover, the most of the luxury of sorrow, 
through the anticipated answer ''Nevermore." 
"With the indulgence to the extreme, of this self- 
torture, the narration, in what I have termed its 
first or obvious phase, has a natural termination, 
and so far there has been no overstepping of the 
limits of the real. 

But in subjects so handled, however skilfully, 
or with however vivid an array of incident, there 
is always a certain hardness or nakedness, which 



20 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

repels the artistical eye. Two things are invari- 
ably required — first, some amount of complexity, 
or more properly, adaptation; and, secondly, 
some amount of suggestiveness — some under cur- 
rent, however indefinite, of meaning. It is this 
latter, in especial, which imparts to a work of 
art so much of that richness (to borrow from 
colloquy a forcible term) which we are too fond 
of confounding with the ideal. It is the excess 
of the suggested meaning — it is the rendering 
this the upper instead of the under current of 
the theme — which turns into prose (and that of 
the very flattest kind) the so called poetry of 
the so called transcend entalists. 

Holding these opinions, I added the two con- 
cluding stanzas of the poem — their suggestive- 
ness being thus made to pervade all the narrative 
which has preceded them. The under-current 
of meaning is rendered first apparent in the 
lines — 

*' Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from 
off my door ! " 

Quoth the Raven " Nevermore ! " 

It will be observed that the words, ''from out 
my heart, ' ' involve the first metaphorical expres- 
sion in the poem. They, with the answer, 
*' Nevermore, ' ^ dispose the mind to seek a moral 
in all that has been previously narrated. The 
reader begins now to regard the Raven as em- 
blematical — but it is not until the very last line 
of the very last staaza, that the intention of mak- 



PHILOSOPHY OF COMPOSITION 21 

ing: him emblematical of Mournful and Never- 
ending Rememhrance is permitted distinctly to 
be seen: 



And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, 

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dream- 
ing, 

And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws hisJtehadow on 
the floor ; Jt/^^ 

And my soul from out that shadow that lies^joatlng on the 
floor -^ I '^ 

Shall be lifted — neveAnore. 




THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 



[In Sartain's Union Magazine, October, 1850.] 



In speaking of the Poetic Principle, I have 
no design to be either thorough or profound. 
While discussing very much at random the es- 
sentiality of what we call Poetry, my principal 
purpose will be to cite for consideration some few 
of those minor English or American poems which 
best suit my own taste, or which, upon my own 
fancy, have left the most definite impression. 
By *^ minor poems" I mean, of course, poems of 
little length. And here, in the beginning, per- 
mit me to say a few words in regard to a some- 
what peculiar principle, which, whether right- 
fully or wrongfully, has always had its influence 
in my own critical estimate of the poem. I hold 
that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that 
the phrase, * * a long poem, ' ' is simply a flat con- 
tradiction in terms. 

I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves 
its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating 
the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio 

•■'See'also '* The Rationale of Verse," toI. x., present edl-^ 
tlon, — Editob. 

2S 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 23 

of this elevating excitement. \^ But all excite- 
ments are., through a psychal necessity, transient. J 
That degree of excitement which would entitle a: 
poem to be so called at ail, cannot be sustained 
throughout a composition of any great length. 
After the lapse of half an hour, at the very ut- 
most, it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and 
then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer 
such. 

There are, no doubt, many who have found 
difficulty in reconciling the critical dictum that 
the ** Paradise Lost" is to be devoutly admired 
throughout, with the absolute impossibility of 
maintaining for it, during perusal, the amount 
of enthusiasm which that critical dictum would 
demand. This great work, in fact, is to be re- 
garded as poetical only when, losing sight of 
that vital requisite in all works of Art, Unity, 
we view it merely as a series of minor poems. 
If, to preserve its Unity — its totality of effect or 
impression — ^we read it (as would be necessary) 
at a single sitting, the result is but a constant 
alternation of excitement and depression. After 
a passage of what we feel to be true poetry, there 
follows, inevitably, a passage of platitude which 
no critical pre-judgment can force us to admire ; 
but if, upon completing the work, we read it 
again; omitting the first book — that is to say, 
commencing with the second — we shall be sur- 
prised at now finding that admirable which we 
before condemned — that damnable which we had 
previously so much admired. It follows from all 
this that the ultimate aggregate, or absolute ef- 



24 WORKS OF EDGAE ALLAN POB 

feet of even the best epic under the sun, is a 
nullity — and this is precisely the fact 

In regard to the Iliad, we have, if not positive 
proof, at least very good reason, for believing it 
intended as a series of lyrics ; but, granting the 
epic intention, I can say only that the work is 
based in an imperfect sense of Art. The mod- 
ern epic is, of the supposititious ancient model, 
but an inconsiderate and blind-fold imitation. 
But the day of these artistic anomalies is over. 
If, at any time, any very long poem were popu- 
lar in reality — ^which I doubt — it is at least clear 
that no very lon^ poem will ever be popular 
again. 

That the extent uf a poetical work is, ceteris ^ 
paribus, the measure of its merit, seems undoubt- 
edly, when we thus state it, a proposition suffi- 
ciently absurd — yet we are indebted for it to the 
Quarterly Reviews. Surely there can be nothing 
in mere size, abstractly considered — there can be 
nothing in mere hulk, so far as a volume is con- 
cerned, which has so continuously elicited admira-~ 
tion from these saturnine pamphlets! A moun- 
tain, to be sure, by the mere sentiment of phy- 
sical magnitude which it conveys, does impress 
us with a sense of the sublime — but no man is 
impressed after this fashion by the material 
grandeur of even **The Columbiad.'' Even the 
Quarterlies have not instructed us to be so im- 
pressed by it. As yet, they have not insisted on 
our estimating Lamartine by the cubic foot, or 
Pollock by the pound — ^but what else are we to 
infer from their continual prating about **siis* 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 25 

tained effort*'? If, by *' sustained effort/* any 
little gentleman has accomplished an epic, let us 
frankly commend him for the effort — if this in- 
deed be a thing commendable — ^but let us forbear 
praising the epic on the effort's account. It is to 
be hoped that common sense, in the time to come, 
will prefer deciding upon a work of Art rather 
by the impression it makes — by the effect it pro- 
duces — than by the 1;ime it took to impress the 
effect, or by the amount of ** sustained effort" 
which had been f-ound necessary in effecting the 
impression. The fact is, that persesgrance is 
one thing and genius g uite anoth er — nor can all 
the Quart'erliesm~€hnstendom^ confound them. 
By the by, this proposition, with many which 
I have been just urging, will be received as self- 
evident. In the meantime, by being generally 
condemned as falsities, they wiU not be essen- 
tially damaged as truths. ^ 

On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may 
be improperly brief. Und ue brevity degener- 
ates into mere epigram2ratism. A very short 
poem, while now and then producing a brilliant 
or vivid, never produces a profound or enduring 
effect. There must be the steady pressing down 
of the stamp upon the wax. De Beranger has 
wrought innumerable things, pungent and spirit- 
stirring, but in general they have been too im- 
ponderous to stamp themselves deeply into the 
public attention, and thus, as so many feathers 
of fancy, have been blown aloft only to be 
whistled down the wind. 

A remarkable instance of the effect of undue 
I. 5 



26 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

brevity in depressing a poem, in keeping it out 
of the popular view, is afforded by the following 
exquisite little Serenade — 

I arise from dreams of thee 

In the first sweet sleep of night 
When the winds are breathing low, 

And the stars are shining bright. 
I arise from dreams of thee. 

And a spirit in my feet 
Has led me — who knows how? — 

To thy chamber-window, sweet! 

The wandering airs they faint 

On the dark the silent stream — 
The champak odors fail 

Like sweet thoughts in a dream; 
The nightingale's complaint. 

It dies upon her heart, 
As I must die on thine, 

0, beloved as thou art ! 

O, lift me from the grass! 

I die, I faint, I fail! 
Let thy love in kisses rain 

On my lips and eyelids pale. 
My cheek is cold and white, alas ! 

My heart beats loud and fast: 
O, press it close to thine again. 

Where it will break at last ! 

Very few perhaps are familiar with these lines, 
yet no less a poet than Shelley is their author. 
Their warm, yet delicate and ethereal imagina- 
tion will be appreciated by all, but by none so 
thoroughly a^ by him who has himself arisen 
from sweet dreams of one beloved to bathe in the 
aromatic air of a southern mid-summer night. 

One of the finest poems by Willis, the very 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 



27 



best in my opinion which he has ever written, 
has no doubt, through this same defect of undue 
brevity, been kept back from its proper position, 
not less in the critical than in the popular 
view: — 

The shadows lay along Broadway, 

'Twas near the twilight-tide — 
And slowly there a lady fair 

Was walking in her pride. 
Alone walked she; but, viewlessly, ^ 

Walk'd spirits at her side. 

Peace charm'd the street beneath her feet. 

And Honour charm'd the air ; 
And all astir looked kind on her. 

And called her good as fair — 
For all God ever gave to her 

She kept with chary care. 

She kept with care her beauties rare 

From lovers warm and true — 
For heart was cold to all but gold, 

And the rich came not to woo — 
But honour'd well her charms to sell. 

If priests the selling do. 

Now walking there was one more fair— 

A slight girl, lily-pale; 
And she had unseen company 

To make the spirit quail — 
Twixt Want and Scorn she walk 'd f orlor% 

And nothing could avaiL 

No mercy now can clear her brow 

From this world's peace to pray, 
For as love's wild prayer dissolved in air. 

Her woman's heart gave way! — 
But the sin forgiven by Christ in Heaven, 

By man is cursed alway! 



28 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

In this composition we find it difficult to rec- 
ognise the Willis who has written so many mere 
*' verses of society." The lines are not only 
richly ideal but full of energy, while they 
breathe an earnestness, an evident sincerity of 
sentiment, for which we look in vain throughout 
all the other works of this author. 

While the epic mania, while the idea that to 
merit in poetry prolixity is indispensable, has 
for some years past been gradually dying out of 
the public mind, by mere dint of its own absurd- 
ity, we find it succeeded by a heresy too palpably 
false to be long tolerated, but one which, in the 
brief period it has already endured, may be said 
to have accomplished more in the corruption of 
our Poetical Literature than all its other enemies 
combined. I allude to the heresy of The Didac- 
tic. It has been assumed, tacitly and avowedly, 
directly and indirectly, that the ultimate object 
of all Poetry j s Truth . Every poem, it is said, 
should Inculcate a m6ral, and by this moral is 
the poetical merit of the work to be adjudged. 
We Americans especially have patronized this 
happy idea, and we Bostonians very especially 
have developed it in full. We have taken it into 
our heads that to write a poem simply for the 
poem's sake, and to acknowledge such to have 
been our design, would be to confess ourselves 
radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and 
force : — but the simple fact is that would we but 
permit ourselves to look into our own souls we 
should immediately there discover that Tinder 
the sun there neither exists nor can exist any 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 29 

work more thoroughly dignified, more supremely 
noble, than this verj^ poem, this poem per se, this 
poem which is a poem and nothing more, this 
poem wi'itten solely for the poem's sake. 

With as deep a reverence for the True as ever 
inspired the bosom of man, I would nevertheless 
limit, in some measure, its modes of inculcation. 
I would limit to enforce them. I would not en- 
feeble them by dissipation. The demands of 
Truth are severe. She has no sympathy with 
the myrtles. All that which is so indispensable 
in Song is precisely all that with which she has 
nothing whatever to do. It is but making her a 
flaunting paradox to wreathe her in gems and 
flowers. \ln^ enforci ng a truth we need severity 
rather than etilo rescence "o? lans;uage . We^ miist 
be'simple, prec ise,"l:erse. We^QUst pe cooL c^ItQ: 
ummp assioned." In a word, "we must be in that 
mood wJiicli, as nearly as possible, isjtlia exaoj^ 
converse of the poe tical . He must be blind in- 
deed who does not perceive the radical and chas- 
mal difference between the truthful and the 
poetical modes of inculcation. He must be 
theory-mad beyond redemption who, in spite of 
these differences, shall still persist in attempting 
to reconcile the obstinate oils and waters of 
Poetry and Truth. 

Dividing the world of mind into its three most 
immediately obvious distinctions, we have the 
Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. I 
place Taste in the middle because it is just this 
position which in the mind it occupies. It holds 
intimate relations with either extreme ; but from 



30 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

the Moral Sense is separated by so faint a differ- 
ence that Aristotle has not hesitated to place 
some of its operations among the virtues them- 
selves. Nevertheless we find the offices of the 
trio marked with a sufficient distinction. Just 
as the Intellect concerns itself with Truth, so 
Taste informs us of the Beautiful, while the 
Moral Sense is regardful of Duty. Of this lat- 
ter, while Conscience teaches the obligation, and 
Reason the expediency, Taste contents herself 
with displaying the charms, waging war upon 
Vice solely on the ground of her deformity, her 
disproportion, her animosity to the fitting, to the 
appropriate, to the harmonious, in a word, to 
Beauty. 

An immortal instinct deep within the spirit of 
man is thus plainly a sense of the beautiful. 
This it is which administers to his delight in the 
manifold forms, and sounds, and odors, and sen- 
timents amid which he exists. And just as the 
lily is repeated in the lake, or the eyes of 
Amaryllis in the mirror, so is the mere oral or 
written repetition of these forms, and sounds, 
and colors, and odors, and sentiments a duplicate 
source of delight. But this mere repetition is 
not poetry. He who shall simply sing, with 
however glowing enthusiasm, or with however 
vivid a truth of description, of the sights, and 
sounds, and odors, and colors, and sentiments 
which greet him in common with all mankind — 
he, I say, has yet failed to prove his divine title. 
There is still a something in the distance which 
he has been unable to attain. We have still a 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 31 

thirst unquenchable, to allay which he has not 
shown us the crystal springs. This thirst be- 
longs to the immortality of Man. It is at once a 
consequence and an indication of his perennial 
existence. It is the desire of the moth for the 
star. It is no mere appreciation of the Beauty 
before us, but a wild effort to reach the Beauty 
above. Inspired by an ecstatic prescience of the 
glories beyond the grave, we struggle by multi- 
form combinations among the things and 
thoughts of Time to attain a portion of that 
Loveliness whose very elements perhaps ap- 
pertain to eternity alone. And thus when 
by Poetry, or when by Music, the most en- 
trancing of the poetic moods, we find ourselves 
melted into tears, we weep then, not as the Ab- 
bate Gravina supposes, through excess of pleas- 
ure, but through a certain petulant, impatient 
sorrow at our inability to grasp noWy wholly, 
here on earth, at once and for ever, those divine 
and rapturous joys of whichU/irowgr/i the poem, 
or through the music, we attaiB to but brief and 
indeterminate glimpses.^ 

The struggle to apprenend the supernal Love- 
liness — this struggle, on the part of souls fit- 
tingly constituted — has given to the world all 
that which it (the world) has ever been enabled 
at once to understand and to feel as poetic. 

The Poetic Sentiment, of course, may develop 
itself in various modes — in Painting, in Sculp- 
ture, in Architecture, in the Dance — ^very especi- 
ally in Music — and very peculiarly, and with a 
wide field, in the composition of the Landscape 



32 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Ga]?den. Our present theme, however, has re- 
gard only to its manifestation in words. And 
here let me speak briefly on the topic of rhythm. 
Contenting myself with the certainty that Music, 
in its various modes of metre, rhythm, and 
rhyme, is of so vast a moment in Poetry as never 
to be wisely rejected — is so vitally important an 
adjunct, that he is simply silly who declines its 
assistance, I will not now pause to maintain its 
absolute essentiality, fj It is in Music perhaps 
that the soul most nearly attains the great end 
for which, when inspired by the Poetic Senti- 
ment, it struggles — the creation of supernal 
Beauty, jl It may be, indeed, that here this sub- 
lime end is, now and then, attained in fact. We 
are often made to feel, with a shivering delight, 
that from an earthly harp are stricken notes 
which cannot have been unfamiliar to the angels. 
And thus there can be little doubt that in the 
union of Poetry with Music in its popular sense, 
we shall find the widest field for the Poetic de- 
velopment. The old Bards and Minnesingers 
had advantages which we do not possess — and 
Thomas Moore, singing his own songs, was, in the 
most legitimate manner, perfecting them as 
poems. ^ 

To recapitulate then : — I would define, in brief, 
the Poetry of words as The Rhythmical Creation 
of Beauty. Its sole arbiter is Taste. With the 
Intellect or with the Conscience it has only col- 
lateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has no 
concern whatever either with Duty or with 
Truth. 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 33 

A few words, however, in explanation. That 
pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most 
elevating, and the most intense, is derived, I 
maintain, from the contemplation of the Beauti- 
ful. In the contemplation of Beauty we alone 
find it possible to attain that pleasurable eleva- 
tion, or excitement of the soul, which we recog- 
nise as the Poetic Sentiment, and which is so 
easily distinguished from Truth, which is the 
satisfaction of the Reason, or from Passion, 
which is the excitement of the heart. I make 
Beauty, therefore — using the word as inclusive 
of the sublime — I make Beauty the province of 
the poem, simply because it is an obvious rule 
of Art that effects should be made to spring as 
directly as possible from their causes: — no one 
as yet having been weak enough to deny that the 
peculiar elevation in question is at least most 
readily attainable in the poem. It by no means 
follows, however, that the incitements of Passion, 
or the precepts of Duty, or even the lessons of 
Truth, may not be introduced into a poem, and 
with advantage; for they may subserve inci- 
dentally, in various ways, the general purposes of 
the work : but the true artist will always contrive 
to tone them down in proper subjection to that 
Beauty which is the atmosphere and the real es- 
sence of the poem. 

I cannot better introduce the few poems whicl 
I shall present for your consideration, than by 
the citation of the Proem to Longfellow's 
•*Waif;''— 



U WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

The day is done, and the darkness 
Falls from the wings of Night, 

As a feather is wafted downward 
From an Eagle in its flight. 

I see the lights of the village 

Gleam through the rain and the mist, 

And a feeling of sadness comes o'er me. 
That my soul cannot resist; 

A feeling of sadness and longing, 

That is not akin to pain, 
And resembles sorrow only 

As the mist resembles the rain. 

Come, read to me some poem. 
Some simple and heartfelt lay. 

That shall soothe this restless feeling; 
And banish the thoughts of day. 

Not from the grand old masters, 
Not from the bards sublime. 

Whose distant footsteps echo 
Through the corridors of Time. 

For, like strains of martial music. 
Their mighty thoughts suggest 

Life's endless toil and endeavor; 
And to-night I long for rest. 

Read from some humbler poet, 

Whose songs gushed from his heart. 

As showers from the clouds of summer. 
Or tears from the eyelids start; 

Who through long days of labor, 

And nights devoid of ease, 
Still heard in his soul the music 

Of wonderful melodies. 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE U 

Such songs have power to quiet 

The restless pulse of care, 
And come like the benediction 

That follows after prayer. 

Then read from the treasured Tolume 

The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 

The beauty of thy voice. 

And the night shall be filled with musio^ 
And the cares that infest the day. 

Shall fold their tents like the Arabs, 
And as silently steal away. 

With no great range of imagination, these lines 
have been justly admired for their delicacy of 
expression. Some of the images are very effec- 
tive. Nothing can be better than — 



the bards sublime, 
Whose distant footsteps echo 
Down the corridors of Time.* 

The idea of the last quatrain is also very effec- 
tive. The poem on the whole, however, is chiefly 
to be admired for the graceful insouciance of its 
metre, so well in accordance with the character 
of the sentiments, and especially for the ease of 
the general manner. This **ease^' or natural- 
ness, in a literary style, it has long been the fash- 
ion to regard as ease in appearance alone— as a 
point of really difficult attainment. But not so : 
— a natural manner is difficult only to him who 

•Poe's quotation. — Editob. 



86 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

should never meddle with it — ^to the unnatural. 
It is but the result of writing with th^ under- 
standing, or with the instinct, that the tone, in 
composition, should always be thafwWCh the 
mass of mankind would adopt — and must perpet- 
ually vary, of course, with the occasion. The 
author who, after the fashion of The North 
American Review, should be upon all occasions 
merely ''quiet," must necessarily upon many 
occasions be simply silly, or stupid ; and has no 
more right to be considered ''easy" or ** natu- 
ral ' ' than a Cockney exauisite, or than the sleep- 
ing Beauty in the waxworks. 

Among the minor poems of Bryant, none has 
so much impressed me as the one which he enti- 
tle* ' ' June. ' ' I quote only a portion of it : — 

There, through the long, long summer hours. 

The golden light should lie, 
And thick young herbs and groups of flowers 

Stand in their beauty by. 
The oriole should build and tell 
His leve-tale, close beside my cell; 

The idle butterfly 
Should rest him there, and there be heard 
The housewife-bee and humming bird. 

And what if cheerful shouts, at noon, 

Come, from the village sent, 
Or songs of maids, beneath the moon. 

With fairy laughter blent? 
And what if, in the evening light, 
Betrothed lovers walk in sight 

Of my low monument? 
I would the lovely scene around 
Might know no sadder sight nor sound. 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 

I know, I know, I should not see* 

The season 's glorious show, 
Nor would its brightness shine for me; 

Nor its wild music flow; 
But if, around ray place of sleep, 
The friends I love should come to weep. 

They might not haste to go. 
Soft airs and song, and light and bloom 
Should keep them lingering by my tomb, 

These to their soften'd hearts should bear 
The thoughts of what has been. 

And speak of one who cannot share 
The gladness of the scene ; 

Whose part; in all the pomp that tills 

The circuit of the summer hills, 
Ig — that his grave is green; 

And deeply would their hearts rejoice 

To hear again his loving voice. 



The rhythmical flow here is even voluptuous 
— nothing could be more melodious. The poem 
has always affected me in a remarkable man* 
ner. The intense melancholy which seems to 
well up, perforce, to the surface of all the poet's 
cheerful sayings about his grave, we find thrill- 
ing us to the soul — while there is the truest 
poetic elevation in the thrill. The impression 
left is one of a pleasurable sadness. And if, 
in the remaining compositions which I shall in- 
troduce to you, there be more or less of a similar 
tone always apparent, let me remind you that 
(how or why we know not) this certain taint of 
sadness is inseparably connected with all the 

♦Poe's quotation. — Editob. 




38 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

higher manifestations of true Beauty. It ]fl» 
nevertheless, 

A feeling of sadness and longing 

That is not akin to pain. 
And resembles sorrow only 

As the mist resembles the rain. 

The taint of which I speak is clearly percep- 
tible even in a poem so full of brilliancy and 
jpirit as *'The Health'' of Edward Coote Pinck- 
Mey: — 

I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paraj^on; 
To whom the better elements 

And kindly stars have given 
A form so fair, that like the air, 

*Tis less of earth than heaven. 

Her every tone is music's own. 

Like those of morning birds, 
And something more than melody 

Dwells ever in her words; 
The coinage of her heart are thqr. 

And from her lips each flows 
As one may see the burdened bee 

Forth issue from the rose. 

Affections are as thoughts to her. 

The measures of her hours; 
Her feelings have the fragrancy. 

The freshness of young flowers; 
And lovely passions, changing oft, 

So flll her, she appears 
The image of themselves by tMraaf^m 

The idol of past years! 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE d9 

Of her bright face one glance will trace 

A picture on the brain, 
And of her voice in echoing hearts 

A sound must long remain; 
But memory, such as mine of her, 

So very much endears, 
When death is nigh, my latest sigh 

Will not be life's, but hers. 

I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paragon — 
Her health ! and would on earth there stood, 

Some more of such a frame, 
That life might be all poetry. 

And weariness a name. 

It was the misfortune of Mr. Pinckney to 
have been bom too far south. Had he been a 
New Englander, it is probable that he would 
have been ranked as the chief of American 
lyrists by that magnanimous cabal which has so 
long controlled the destinies of American Let- 
ters, in conducting the thing called The North 
American Review. The poem just cited is es- 
pecially beautiful; but the poetic elevation 
which it induces we must refer chiefly to our 
sympathy in the poet's enthusiasm. We pardon 
his hyperboles for the evident earnestness with 
which they are uttered. 

It was by no means my design, however, to 
expatiate upon the merits of what I should read 
you. These will necessarily speak for them- 
selves. Boccalini, in his Advertisements from 
Parnassus, tells us that Zoilus once presented 



40 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Apollo a very caustic criticism upon a very ad- 
mirable book: — ^whereupon the god asked him 
for the beauties of the work. He replied that 
he only busied himself about the errors. On 
hearing this, Apollo, handing him a sack of un- 
winnowed wheat, bade him pick out all the 
chaff for his reward. 

Now this fable answers very well as a hit at 
the critics — but I am by no means sure that the 
god was in the right. I am by no means cer- 
tain that the true limits of the critical duty are 
not grossly misunderstood. Excellence, in a 
poem especip^ly, may be considered in the light 
of an axiom, which need only be properly put, 
to become self-evident. It is not excellence if 
it require to be demonstrated as such : — and thus 
to point out too particularly the merits of a work 
of Art, is to admit that they are not merits alto- 
gether. 

Among the "Melodies" of Thomas Moore is 
one whose distinguished character as a poem 
proper seems to have been singularly left out 
of view. I allude to his lines beginning — 
(^ *'Come, rest in this bosom. ^^ The intense en- 
ergy of their expression is not surpassed by any- 
thing in Byron. There are two of the lines in 
which a sentiment is conveyed that embodies the 
all in all of the divine passion of Love — a sen- 
timent which, perhaps, has found its echo in 
more, and in more passionate human hearts than 
any other single sentiment ever embodied in 
words : — 



^ 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 41 

Com6, rest in this bosom, my own stricken deer, 
Though the herd have fled from thee, thy home is still 

here; 
Here still is the smile, that no cloud can overcast, 
And a heart and a hand all thy own to the last. 

Oh ! what wag love made for, if 'tis not the same 
Through joy and through torment, through glory and 

shame ? 

I know not, I ask not, if guilt's in that heart, . 

I but know that I love thee, whatever thou art. S 

Thou hast call'd me thy Angel in moments of bliss. 
And thy Angel I'll be 'mid the horrors of this,— 
Through the furnace, unshrinking, thy st^>s to pursue. 
And shield thee, and save thee, — or perish there too ! 

It has been the fashion of late days to deny 
Moore Imagination, while granting him Fancy 
— a distinction originating with Coleridge — 
than whom no man more fully comprehended 
the great powers of Moore. The fact is, that 
the fancy of this poet so far predominates over 
all his other faculties, and over the fancy of all 
other men, as to have induced, very naturally, 
the idea that he is fanciful only. But never 
was there a greater mistake. Never was a 
grosser wrong done the fame of a true poet. 
In the compass of the English language I can 
call to mind no poem more profoundly — more 
weirdly imaginative, in the best sense, than the 
lines commencing — *'I would I were by that 
dim lake'' — ^which are the composition of 
Thomas Moore. I regret that I am unable to ise- 
member them. 

One of the noblest — and, speaking of Fancy — 
I. 6 



42 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

one of the most singularly fanciful of modern 
poets, was Thomas Hood. His ''Fair Ines'' had 
always for me an inexpressible charm : — 

O saw ye not fair Ines ? 

She's gone into the West, 
To dazzle when the sun is down. 

And rob the world of rest ; 
She took our daylight with her, 

The smiles tbat we love best, 
With morning blushes on her cheek. 

And pearls upon her breast. 

turn again, fair Ines 
Before the fall of night, 

For fear the moon should shine alona^ 

And stars unrivall'd bright; 
And blessed, will the lover be 

That walks beneath their light, 
And breathes the love against thy check 

I dare not even write! 

Would I had been, fair Ines, 

That gallant cavalier. 
Who rode so gaily by thy side, 

And whisper 'd thee so near ! 
Were there no bonny dames at home. 

Or no true lovers here. 
That he should cross the seas to win 

The dearest of the dear? 

1 saw thee, lovely Ines, 
Descend along the shore. 

With bands of noble gentlemen. 

And banners waved before ; 
And gentle youth and maidens gay, 

And snowy plumes they wore; * 

It would have been a beauteous dream, 

If it had been no more! 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 43 

Alas, alas, fair Ines, 

She went away with song, 
With music waiting on her steps. 

And shoutings of the throng; 
But some were sad and felt no mirth. 

But only Music's wrong, 
In sounds that sang Farewell, Farewell, 

To her you've loved so long. 

Farewell, farewell, fair Ines, 

That vessel never bore 
So fair a lady on its deck, 

Nor danced so light before, — 
Alas for pleasure on the sea. 

And sorrow on the shore! 
The smile that blest one lover's heart 

Has broken many more! 

**The Haunted House," by the same author, 
is one of the truest poems ever written, — one of 
the truest, one of the most unexceptionable, one 
of the most thoroughly artistic, both in its theme 
and in its execution. It is, moreover, powerfully 
ideal — imaginative. I regret that its length ren- 
ders it unsuitable for the purposes of this lec- 
ture. In place of it permit me to offer the uni- 
versally appreciated "Bridge of Sighs:"— 

One more Unfortunate, 
Weary of breath. 
Rashly importunate 
Gone to her death! 

Take her up tenderly. 
Lift her with care; — 
Fashion'd so tenderly. 
Young and so fair! 



U WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOB 

Look at her garments 
Clinging like cerements; 
Whilst the wave constantly 
Drips from her clothing; 
Take her up instantly, 
Loving, not loathing. — 

Touch her not scornfully; 
Think of her mournfully, 
Gently and humanly ; 
ISlot of the stains of her. 
All that remains of her 
Now, is pure womanly. 

Make no deep scrutiny 
Into her mutiny 
Rash and vmdutiful; 
Past all dishonor, 
Death has left on her 
Only the beautiful. 

Still, for all slips of hers. 
One of Eve's family — 
Wipe those poor lips of hers 
Oozing so claicmily, 
Loop up her tresses 
Escaped from the comb. 
Her fair auburn tresses; 
Whilst wonderment guesses 
Where was her home? 

Who was her father ? 

Who was her mother ? 

Had she a sister? 

Had she a brother? 

Or was there a dearer one 

Still, and a nearer one 

Yet, than all other? 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 45 

Alas! for the rarity 
Of Christian charity 
Under the sun! 
Oh! it was pitiful! 
Near a whole city full. 
Home she had none. 

Sisterly, brotherly. 
Fatherly, motherly. 
Feelings had changed: 
Love, by harsh evidence. 
Thrown from its eminence; 
Even God's providence 
Seeming estranged. 

Where the lamps quiver 

So far in the river, 

With many a light 

From window and casement, 

From garret to basement, 

She stood, with amazement. 

Houseless by night. 

The bleak wind of Maren 
Made her tremble and shiver; 
But not the dark arch. 
Or the back flowing river; 
Mad from life's history. 
Glad to death's mystery. 
Swift to be hurl'd — 
Anywhere, anywhere 
Out of the world! 

In she plunged boldly, 
No matter how coldly 
The rough river ran, — 
Over the brink of it. 
Picture it, — think of it. 
Dissolute Man ! 
Lave in it, drink of it 
Then, if you can! 



46 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

Take her up tenderly; 
Lift her with care; 
Fashion'd so slenderly, 
Young, and so fair ! 
Ere her limbs frigidly 
Stiffen too rigidly, 
Decently, — kindly, — 
Smooth and compose them; 
And her eyes, close them. 
Staring so blindly ! 

Dreadfully staring 
Through muddy impurity. 
As when with the daring 
Last look of despairing 
Fixed on futurity. 

Perishing gloomily. 
Spurred by contumely, 
r Cold inhumanity, "^ 
Burning insanity, 
Into her rest, — 
Cross her hands humbly. 
As if praying dumbly. 
Over her breast ! 
Owning her weakness, 
Her evil behavior. 
And leaving, with meekness, 
Her sins to her Savior I 

The vigor of this poem is no less remarkable 
than its pathos. The versification, although car- 
rying the fanciful to the very verge of the fan- 
tastic, is nevertheless admirably adapted to the 
wild insanity which is the thesis of the poem. 

Among the minor poems of Lord Byron is one 
which has never received from the critics the 
praise which it undoubtedly deserves : — 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 47 

Though the day of my destiny's over, 

And the star of my fate hath declined, 
Thy soft heart refused to discover 

The faults which so many could find; 
Though thy soul with my grief was acquainted, 

It shrunk not to share it with me. 
And the love which my spirit hath paint 

It never hath found but in thee. 



Then when nature^round me is smiling. 

The last smile which answers to mine, 
I do not believe it beguiling. 

Because it reminds me of thine ; 
And when winds are at war with the ocean. 

As the breasts I believed in with me. 
If their billows excite an emotion. 

It is that they bear me from thee. 

Though the rock of my last hope is shivered. 

And its fragments are sunk in the wave. 
Though I feel that my soul is delivered 

To pain — it shall not be its slave. 
There is many a pang to pursue me; 

They may crush, but they shall not contemn— 
They may torture, but shall not subdue me— 

'Tis of thee that I think— not of them. 

Though human, thou didst not deceive me. 

Though woman, thou didst not forsake. 
Though loved, thou forborest to grieve me. 

Though slandered, thou never couldst shakc-r 
Though trusted, thou didst not disclaim me. 

Though parted, it was not to fly. 
Though watchful, 'twas not to defame me 

Nor mute, that the world might belie. 

Yet I blame not the world, nor despise it> 
Nor the war of the many with one 

If my soul was not fitted to prize it, 
Twas folly not sooner to shun: 



48 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

And if dearly that error hath cost me. 
And more than I once could foresee, 

I have found that whatever it lost me. 
It could not deprive me of thee. 

From the wreck of the past, which hath perished, 

Thus much I at least may recall, 
It hath taught me that what I most cherished 

Deserved to be dearest of all : 
In the desert a fountain is springing, 

In the wide waste there still is a tree, 
And a bird in the solitude singing, 

Which speaks to my spirit of thee. 

Although the rhythm here is one of the most dif- 
ficult, the versification could scarcely be im- 
proved. No nobler theme ever engaged the pen 
of poet. It is the soul-elevating idea that no man 
can consider himself entitled to complain of Fate 
while in his adversity he still retains the unwav- 
ering love of woman. 

From Alfred Tennyson, although in perfect 
sincerity I regard him as the noblest poet that 
ever lived, I have left myself time to cite only a 
very brief specimen. I call him, and think him 
the noblest of poets, not because the impressions 
he produces are at all times the most profound — 
not because the poetical excitement which he in- 
duces is at all times the most intense — but be- 
cause it is at all times the most ethereal — in other 
words, the most elevating and most pure. No 
poet is so little of the earth, earthy. What I am 
about to read is from his last poem, ' ' The Prin- 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE -» 

Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean. 
Tears from the depth of some divine despair 
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes, 
In looking on the happy Autumn fields. 
And thinking of the days that are no more. 

Fresh as the first beam glittering on a sail. 
That brings our friends up from the underworld. 
Sad as the last which reddens over one 
That sinks with all we love below the verge ; 
So sad, so fresh, the days that are no more. 

Ah, sad and strange as in dark summer dawns 
The earliest pipe of half-awaken'd birds 
To dying ears, when unto dying eyes 
The casement slowly grows a glimmering square; 
So sad, so strange, the days that are no more. 

Dear as remember'd kisses after death. 
And sweet as those by hopeless fancy feign'd 
On lips that are for others; deep as love. 
Deep as first love, and wild with all regret; 
O Death in Life, the flays that are no more. 

Thus, although in a very cursory and imperfect 
manner, I have endeavored to convey to you my 
conception of the Poetic Principle. It has been 
my purpose to suggest th.at, while this Principle 
itself is strictly and simply the Human Aspira- 
tion for Supernal Beauty, the manifestation of 
the Principle is always found in an elevating ex- 
citement of the soul, quite independent of that 
passion which is the intoxication of the Heart, or 
of that truth which is the satisfaction of the Rea- 
son. For in regard to passion, alas ! its tendency 
is to degrade rather than to elevate the Soul. 
Love, on the contrary — ^Love — ^the true, the di- 



50 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

vine Eros — the Uranian as distinguished from 
the Dionaean Venus — is unquestionably the pur- 
est and truest of all poetical themes. And in re- 
gard to Truth, if, to be sure, through the attain- 
ment of a truth we are led to perceive a harmony 
where none was apparent before, we experience 
at once the true poetical effect; but this effect 
is referable to the harmony alone, and not in the 
least degree to the truth which merely served to 
render the harmony manifest. 

We shall reach, however, more immediately a 
distinct conception of what the true Poetry is 
by mere reference to a few of the simple elements 
which induce in the Poet himself the true poeti- 
cal effect. He recognizes the ambrosia which 
nourishes his soul in the bright orbs that shine in 
Heaven, in the volutes of the flower, in the clus- 
tering of low shrubberies, in the waving of the 
grain-fields, in the slanting of tall eastern trees, 
in the blue distance of mountains, in the group- 
ing of clouds, in the twinkling of half-hidden 
brooks, in the gleaming of silver rivers, in 
the repose of sequestered lakes, in the star-mir- 
roring depths of lonely wells. He perceives it in 
the songs of birds, in the harp of ^olus, in the 
sighing of the night wind, in the repining voice 
of the forest, in the surf that complains to the 
shore, in the fresh breath of the woods, in the 
scent of the violent, in the voluptuous perfume 
of the hyacinth, in the suggestive odor that comes 
to him at even-tide from far-distant undiscovered 
islands, over dim oceans, illimitable and unex- 
plored. He owns it in all noble thoughts, in all 



THE POETIC PRINCIPLE 51 

unworldly motives, in all holy impulses, in all 
chivalrous, generous, and self-sacrificing deeds. 
He feels it in the beauty of woman, in the 
grace of her step, in the lustre of her 
eye, in the melody of her voice, in her 
soft laughter, in her sigh, in the harmony 
of the rustling of her robes. He deeply feels it in 
her winning endearments, in her burning enthu- 
siasms, in her gentle charities, in her meek and 
devotional endurances, but above all, ah, far 
above all, he kneels to it, he worships it in the 
faith, in the purity, in the strength, in the alto- 
gether divine majesty of her love. 

Let me conclude by the recitation of yet an- 
other brief poem, one very different in character 
from any that I have before quoted. It is by 
Motherwell, and is called * * The Song of the Cav- 
alier.'' With our modern and altogether ra- 
tional ideas of the absurdity and impiety of war- 
fare, we are not precisely in that frame of mind 
best adapted to sympathize with the sentiments, 
and thus to appreciate the real excellence of the 
poem. To do this fully we must identify our- 
selves in fancy with the soul of the old cav- 
alier : — 

A steed! a steed! of matchless speeds I 

A sword of metal keene! 
Al else to noble heartee is drosse — 

Al else on earth is meane. 
The neighynge of the war-horse prowde. 

The rowleing of the drum. 
The clangour of the trumpet lowde— 

Be soundes from heaven that come. 



da WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

And oh ! the thundering presse of knightes. 

When as their war-cryes weile, 
May tole from heaven an angel bright. 

And rowse a fiend fvom hell. 

Then mounte! then mounte, brare gallants all. 

And don your helmes amaine : 
Deathe's couriers, Fame and Honour, call 

Us to the field againe. 
No shrewish teares snail fill your eye 

When the sword-hilt's in our hand, — 
Heart-whole we'll part, and no whit sighe 

For the f ayrest of the land : 
Let piping swaine, and craven wight. 

Thus weepe and puling erye. 
Our business is like men to fight* 

And hero-like to die! 



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS— 1831» 



LETTER TO MR. B f 



**West Point, 1831. 
"Dear B 

Believing only a portion of my former volume 
to be worthy a second edition — that small por- 
tion I thought it as well to inelude in the pres- 
ent book as to republish by itself. I have there- 
fore herein combined *A1 Aaraaf and 'Tamer- 
lane' with other poems hitherto unprinted. Nor 
have I hesitated to insert from the 'Minor 
Poems,' now omitted, whole lines, and even 
passages, to the end that being placed in a 
fairer light, and the trash shaken from them in 
which they were imbedded, they may have some 
chance of being seen by posterity. 

**It has been said that a good critique on a 
poem may be written by one who is no poet him- 
self. This, according to your idea and mine of 
poetry, I feel to be false — the less poetical the 
critic, the less just the critique, and the con- 
verse. On this account, and because there are 

♦See page 156 present volume. — Editob. 
tA fictitious personage. — Editor, 
53 



64 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

but few B s in the world, I would be as 

much ashamed of the world's good opinion as 
proud of your own. Another than yourself 
might here observe, * Shakespeare is in possession 
of the world's good opinion, and yet Shakespeare 
is the greatest of poets. It appears then that 
the world judge correctly, why should you be 
ashamed of their favourable judgment?' The 
dif/ieulty lies in the interpretation of the word 
'judgment' or 'opinion.' The opinion is the 
world's, truly, but it may be called theirs as a 
man would call a book his, having bought it; he 
did not write the book, but it is his; they did 
not originate the opinion, but it is theirs. A 
fool, for example, thinks Shakespeare a great 
poet — yet the fool has never read Shakespeare. 
But the fool's neighbor, who is a step higher on 
the Andes of the mind, whose head (that is to 
say, his more exalted thought) is too far above 
the fool to be seen or understood, but whose feet 
(by which I mean his every-day actions) are 
sufficiently near to be discerned, and by means of 
which that superiority is ascertained, which hut 
for them would never have been discovered— 
this neighbour asserts that Shakespeare is a great 
poet — the fool believes him, and it is hencefor- 
ward his opinion. This neighbor's own opinion 
has, in like manner, been adopted from one above 
him, and so, ascendingly, to a few gifted indi- 
\^duals who kneel aroimd the summit, beholding, 
face to face, the master spirit who stands upon 
the pinnacle. . . . 

**You are aware of the great barrier in the 



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS— 183D 55 

path of an American writer. He is read, if at 
all, in preference to the combined and established 
wit of the world. I say established; for it is 
with literature as with law or empire — an estab- 
lished name is an estate in tenure, or a throne in 
possession. Besides, one might suppose that 
books, like their authors, improve by travel — 
their having crossed the sea is, with us, so great a 
distinction. Our antiquaries abandon time for 
distance ; our very fops glance from the binding 
to the bottom of the title-page, where the mystic 
characters which spell London, Paris, or Genoa, 
are precisely so many letters of recommenda- 
tion. . . . 

**I mentioned just now a vulgar error as re- 
gards criticism. I think the notion that no poet 
can form a correct estimate of his own writings 
is another. I remarked before that in propor- 
tion to the poetical talent would be the justice 
of a critique upon poetry. Therefore a bad poet 
would, I grant, make a false critique, and his 
self-love would infallibly bias his little judgment 
in his favor; but a poet, who is indeed a poet, 
could not, I think, fail of making a just critique ; 
whatever should be deducted on the score of 
self-love might be replaced on account of his in- 
timate acquaintance with the subject; in short, 
we have more instances of false criticism than 
of just where one's own writings are the test, 
simply because we have more bad poets than 
good. There are, of course, many objections to 
what I say: Milton is a great example of the 
contrary; but his opinion with respect to the 



56 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

'Paradise Regained' is by no means fairly ascer- 
tained. By what trivial circumstances men are 
often led to assert what they do not really be- 
lieve! Perhaps an inadvertent world has de- 
scended to posterity. But, in fact, the ' Paradise 
Regained ' is little, if at all, inferior to the ' Para- 
dise Lost,' and is only supposed so to be because 
men do not like epics, whatever they may say to 
the contrary, and reading those of Milton in 
their natural order, are too much wearied with 
the first to derive any pleasure from the second. 

**I dare say Milton preferred *Comus' to 
either — if so — justly. . . . 

''As I am speaking of poetry, it will not be 
amiss to touch slightly upon the most singular 
heresy in its modern history — the heresy of what 
is called, very foolishly, the Lake School. Some 
years ago I might have been induced, by an occa- 
sion like the present, to attempt a formal refuta- 
tion of their doctrine ; at present it would be a 
work of supererogation. The wise must bow to 
the wisdom of such men as Coleridge and 
Southey, but being wise, have laughed at poet- 
ical theories so prosaically exemplified. 

** Aristotle, with singular assurance, has de- 
clared poetry the most philosophical of all writ- 
ings* — but it required a Wordsworth to pro- 
nounce it the most metaphysical. He seems to 
think that the end of poetry is, or should be, in- 
struction ; yet it is a truism that the end of our 
existence is happiness; if so, the end of every 
separate part of our existence, everything con- 

* SrrovSaiorarov Kat ^tAoacx^ucorarov yevo?. 



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS— 1831 57 

nected with our existence, should be still happi- 
ness. Therefore the end of instructicn should 
be happiness ; and happiness is another name for 
pleasure; — therefore the end of instruction 
should be pleasure: yet we see the above-men- 
tioned opinion implies precisely the reverse. 

**To proceed: ceteris paribus, he who pleases 
is of more importance to his fellow-men than he 
who instructs, since utility is happiness, and 
pleasure is the end already obtained which in- 
struction is merely the means of obtaining. 

**I see no reason, then, why our metaphysical 
poets should plume themselves so much on the 
utility of their works, unless indeed they refer 
to instruction with eternity in view; in which 
case, sincere respect for their piety would not 
allow me to express contempt for their judg- 
ment; contempt which it would be difficult to 
conceal, since their writings are professedly to 
be understood by the few, and it is the many who 
stand in need of salvation. In such case I should 
no doubt be tempted to think of the devil in 
*Melmoth,' who labors indefatigably, through 
three octavo volumes, to accomplish the destruc- 
tion of one or two souls, while any common devil 
would have demolished one or two thousand. 

'* Against the subtleties which would make 
poetry a study — not a passion — it becomes the 
metaphysician to reason — but the poet to pro- 
test. Yet "Wordsworth and Coleridge are men in 
years ; the one imbued in contemplation from his 
childhood; the other a giant in intellect and 
leaminer. The diffidence, then, with which I ven- 
I. 7 



58 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

linre to dispute their authority would be over- 
whelming did I not feel, from the bottom of my 
heart, that learning has little to do with the 
imagination — intellect with the passions — or age 
with poetry. 

"* Trifles, like straws, upon the surface flow; 

He who would search for pearls must dive below,* 

are lines which have done much mischief. As 
regards the greater truths, men oftener err by 
seeking them at the bottom than at the top; 
Truth lies in the huge abysses where wisdom is 
sought — not in the palpable palaces where she is 
found. The ancients were not always right in 
hiding the goddess in a well; witness the light 
which Bacon has thrown upon philosophy; wit- 
ness the principles of our divine faith — that 
moral mechanism by which the simplicity of a 
child may overbalance the wisdom of a man. 

* * We see an instance of Coleridge 's liability to 
err, in his Biographia Literaria — professedly his 
literary life and opinions, but, in fact, a treatise 
de omni scihili et quihusdam aliis. He goes 
wrong by reason of his very profundity, and of 
his error we have a natural type in the con- 
templation of a star. He who regards it directly 
and intensely sees, it is true, the star, but it is 
the star without a ray — ^while he who surveys it 
less inquisitively is conscious of all for which the 
star is useful to us below — its brilliancy and its 
beauty. 

**As to Wordsworth, I have no faith in kirn. 



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS— 1831 59 

That he had in youth the feelings of a poet I 
believe — for there are glimpses of extreme deli- 
cacy in his writings — (and delicacy is the poet^s 
own kingdom — his El Dorado) — but they have 
the appearance of a better day recollected ; and 
glimpses, at best, are little evidence of present 
poetic fire; we know that a few straggling 
flowers spring up daily in the crevices of the 
glacier. 

''He was to blame in wearing away his youth 
in contemplation with the end of poetizing in 
his manhood. With the increase of his judg- 
ment the light which should make it apparent 
has faded away. His judgment consequently is 
too correct. This may not be understood, — but 
the old Goths of Germany would have under- 
stood it, who used to debate matters of im- 
portance to their State twice, once when drunk, 
and once when sober — sober that they might not 
be deficient in formality — drunk lest they should 
be destitute of vigour. 

' * The long wordy discussions by which he tries 
to reason us into admiration of his poetry, speak 
very little in his favour: they are full of 
such assertions as this (I have opened one of his 
volumes at random) — 'Of genius the only proof 
is the act of doing well what is worthy to be done, 
and what was never done before ; ' — indeed ? then 
it follows that in doing what is unworthy to be 
done, or what has been done before, no genius 
can be evinced ; yet the picking of pockets is an 
unworthy act, pockets have been picked time im- 



60 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

memorial, and Barrington, the pickpocket, in 
point of genius, would have thought hard of a 
comparison with William Wordsworth, the poet. 
^' Again, in estimating the merit of certain 
poems, whether they be Ossian 's or Macpherson 's 
can surely be of little consequence, yet, in order 
to prove their worthlessness, Mr. W. has ex- 
pended many pages in the controversy. Tan- 
tcene animisf Can great minds descend to such 
absurdity? But worse still: that he may bear 
down every argument in favor of these poems, 
he triumphantly drags forward a passage, in his 
abomination with which he expects the reader to 
sympathise. It is the beginning of the epic poem 
^Temora.' 'The blue waves of Ullin roll in 
light ; the green hills are covered with day ; trees 
shake their dusty heads in the breeze. ' And this 
— this gorgeous, yet simple imagery, where all is 
alive and panting with immortality — this, Wil- 
liam Wordsworth, the author of ' Peter Bell, ' has 
selected for his contempt. We shall see what 
better he, in his own person, has to offer. 
Imprimis : 

* ' ' And now she 's at the pony 's head, 
And now she 's at the pony 's tail. 
On that side now, and now on this; 
And, almost stifled with her bliss, 
A few sad tears does Betty shed. . . . 
She pats the pony, where or when 
She knows not . . . happy Betty FoyI 
Oh, Johnny, never mind the doctor!' 

-^^ Secondly: 



INTKODUOTION TO POEMS— 1831 61 

"'The dew was falling fast, the — stars began to blink; 
I heard a voice: it said — "Drink, pretty creature, 

drink!" 
And, looking o'er the hedge, be — fore me I espied 
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a— maiden at its 

side. 
No other sheep was near, — the lamb was all alone. 
And by a slender cord was — tether'd to a stone.' 

*'Now, we have no doubt this is all true: we 
will believe it, indeed we will, Mr. W. Is it 
sympathy for the sheep you wish to excite? I 
love a sheep from the bottom of my heart. 

''But there are occasions, dear B , there 

are occasions when even Wordsworth is reason- 
able. Even Stamboul, it is said, shall have an 
end, and the most unlucky blunders must come 
to a conclusion. Here is an extract from his 
preface : — 

*' 'Those who have been accumstomed to the 
phraseology of modern writers, if they persist 
in reading this book to a conclusion (impossi- 
Me!) will, no doubt, have to struggle with feel- 
ings of awkwardness; (ha! ha! ha!) they will 
look round for poetry (ha! ha! ha! ha!), and 
will be induced to inquire by what species of 
courtesy these attempts have been permitted to 
assume that title. ' Ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! ha ! 

"Yet, let not Mr. W. despair; he has given 
immortality to a wagon, and the bee Sophocles 
has transmitted to eternity a sore toe, and dig- 
nified a tragedy with a chorus of turkeys. 

*'0f Coleridge, I cannot speak but with rev- 
erence. His towering intellect ! his gigantic 



62 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

power! To use an author quoted by himself, 
^Jai trouve souvent que la plupart des secies ont 
raison dans une bonne partie de ce qu'eUes avan- 
cent, mats non pas en ce qu'elles nient;* and to 
employ his own language, he has imprisoned his 
own conceptions by the barrier he has erected 
against those of others. It is lamentable to think 
that such a mind should be buried in meta- 
physics, and, like the Nyctanthes, waste its per- 
fume upon the night alone. In reading that 
man's poetry, I tremble like one who stands upon 
a volcano, conscious from the very darkness 
bursting from the crater, of the fire and the light 
that are weltering below. d^ 

''What is poetry? — Poetry! that Proteus-liKe 
idea, with as many appellations as the nine-titled 
Corcyra! 'Give me,' I demanded of a scholar 
some time ago, 'give me a definition of poetry.' 
^ Tres-volontiers;' and he proceeded to his li- 
brary, brought me a Dr. Johnson, and over- 
whelmed me with a definition. Shade of the im- 
mortal Shakespeare! I imagine to myself the 
scowl of your spiritual eye upon the profanity of 
that scurrilous Ursa Major. Think of poetry, 

dear B , think of poetry, and then think of 

Dr. Samuel Johnson! Think of all that is airy 
and fairy-like, and then of all that is hideous and 
unwieldy ; think of his huge bulk, the Elephant ! 
and then — and then think of the 'Tempest' — the 
'Midsummer Night's Dream' — ^Prosper© — Ober- 
on — and Titania! 

**A poem, in my opinion, is opposed to a work 
of science by having, for its immediate object, 



INTRODUCTION TO POEMS— 1831 63 

pleasure, not truth ; to romance, by having, for 
its object, an indefinite instead of a definite 
pleasure, being a poem only so far as this object 
is attained; romance presenting perceptible im- 
ages with definite, poetry with indefinite sensa- 
tions, to which end music is an essential, since 
the comprehension of sweet sound is our most in- 
definite conception. Music, when combined with 
a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without 
the idea, is simply music ; the idea, without the 
music, is prose, from its very definiteness. 

*'What was meant by the invective against 
him who had no music in his soul? 

*'To sum up this long rigmarole, I have, dear 
B , what you, no doubt, perceive, for the met- 
aphysical poets as poets, the most sovereign 
contempt. That they have followers proves 
nothing — 

" * No Indian prince has to his palace 

More followers than a thief to the gallows.' " 



POEMS 



DEDICATION 



TO 
THE NOBLEST OF HER SEX — 

THE AUTHOR OF 

" THE DRAMA OF EXILE "— 

TO 

MISS ELIZABETH BARRETT BARRETT 

OF ENGLAND 

I DEDICATE THIS VOLUME 

WITH THB MOST ENTHUSIASTIC ADMIRATION AND 
WITH THB MOST SINCERE ESTEEM. 

1845. E,A.P. 



PREFACE 



These trifles are collected and republished 
ehieflj with a view to their redemption from the 
many improvements to which they have been 
subjected while going at random the '* rounds of 
the press. ' ' I am naturally anxious that what I 
have written should circulate as I wrote it, if it 
circulate at all. In defence of my own taste, 
nevertheless, it is incumbent upon me to say that 
I think nothing in this volume of much value to 
the public, or very creditable to myself. Events 
not to be controlled have prevented me from 
making, at any time, any serious effort in what, 
under happier circumstances, would have been 
the field of my choice. With me poetry has been 
not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions 
should be held in reverence: they must not — 
they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the 
paltry compensations, or the more paltry com- 
mendations, of mankind. 

1845. B. A. P. 



NOTE TO " THE RAVEN." • 

** The Raven " was first published on the 29th of January, 
1845, in the New York Evening Mirror — of which its author 
was then assistant editor. It was prefaced by the follow- 
ing words, understood to have been written by N. P. Willis :— 
" We are permitted to copy (in advance of publication) from 
the second number of the American [Whig} Review, the fol- 
lowing remariiable poem by Edgar Poe. In our opinion, it 
is the most effective single example of ' fugitive poetry ' ever 
published in this country, and unsurpassed in English 
poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versifi- 
cation, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift and 
• poker ishness.' It is one of those ' dainties bred in a book ' 
which we feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody 
who reads it." In the February number of the American 
Whig Review the poem was published as by " Quarles," and 
it was introduced by the following note, evidently suggested 
if not ^^^itten by Poe himself: 

[" The following lines from a correspondent — besides the 
deep, quaint strain of the sentiment, and the curious intrc^ 
duction of some ludicrous touches amidst the serious and im- 
pressive, as was doubtless intended by the author — appears to 
us one of the most felicitous specimens of unique rhyming 
which has tor some time met our eye. The resources of Eng- 
lish rhythm for varieties of melody, measure, and sound, pro- 
ducing corresponding diversities of effect, having been thor- 
oughly studied, much more perceived, by very few poets in 
the language. While the classic tongues, especially the Greek, 
possess, by power of accent, several advantages for versifica- 
tion over our owrji, chiefly through greater abundance of spon- 
daic feet, we have other and very great advantages of sound 
by the modern usage of rhyme. Alliteration is nearly the 
only effect of that kind which the ancients had in common 
with us. It will be seen that much of the melody of ' The 
Raven ' arises from alliteration, and the studious use of sim- 
ilar sounds in unusual places. In regard to its measure, it 
may be noted that, if all the verses were like the second, they 
might properly be placed merely in short lines, producing & 
not uncommon form ; but the presence in all the others of one 
line — mostly the second in the verse" [stanza?] — "which 
flows continuously, with only an aspirate pause in the middle, 
like that before the short line in the Sapphic Adonic, while 
the fifth has at the middle pause no similarity of sound with 
any part besides, gives the versification an entirely different 
effect. W^e could wish the capacities of our noble language 
In prosody were better understood." — Ed. American Whig JBe- 
view.} 

♦See also " The Philosophy of Composition," page 3, present 
volume. — Editor. 



THE RAVEN 



Once upon a midnight dresivy, while I pondered, 
weak and weary, 

Over many a quaint and curious volume of for- 
gotten lore — 

While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there 
came a tapping, 

As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my 
chamber door. 

** 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, ** tapping at my 
chamber door- — 

Only this and nothing more. ' ' 

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak 

December, 
And each separate dying ember wrought its 

ghost upon the floor. 
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had 

sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for 

the lost Lenore — 
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the 

ftjngels name Lenore — 

Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each 
purple curtain 



70 WORKS OP EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors 

never felt before ; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I 

stood repeating 
* * ^is some visitor entreating entrance at my 

chamber door — 
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my 

chamber door; — 

This it is and nothing more.*' 

Presently my soul grew stronger ; hesitating then 
no longer, 

**Sir,'* said I, *'or Madam, truly your forgive- 
ness I implore; 

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you 
came rapping, 

And so faintly you came tapping — tapping at 
my chamber door — 

That I scarce was sure I heard you'* — ^here I 

opened wide the door: 

Darkness there and nothing more. 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood 
there wondering, fearing. 

Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever 
dared to dream before ; 

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness 
gave no token. 

And the only word there spoken was the whis- 
pered word, **Lenore!** 

This I whispered, and an echo murmured back 
the word, **Lenore!*' 

Merely this and nothing more. 



\ THE RAVEN 71 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul 
within me burning, 

Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder 
than before. 

** Surely, '^ said I, ''surely that is something at 
my window lattice ; 

Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mys- 
tery explore — 

Let my heart be still a moment, and this mys- 
tery explore; — 

'Tis the wind and nothing more.'' 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many 

a flirt and flutter. 
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly 

days of yore ; 
Not the least obeisance made he ; not a minute 

stopped or stayed he ; 
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above 

my chamber door — 
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my 

chamber door — 

Perched, and sat, and nothing more. 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy 
into smiling. 

By the grave and stem decorum of the counte- 
nance it wore, 

''Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,*' 
I said, "art sure no craven. 

Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from 
the Nightly shore — 



72 WORKS Oil EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's 
Plutonian shore!" 

Quoth the Raven, ''Nevermore." 

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hea^ 
discourse so plainly, 

Though its answer little meaning — little rele- 
vancy bore; 

For we cannot help agreeing that no living 
human being 

Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his 
chamber door — 

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his 
chamber door, 

With such name as ' ' Nevermore. ' * 

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, 

spoke only 
That one word, as if his soul in that one word 

he did outpour. 
Nothing further then he uttered — not a feather 

then he fluttered — 
Till I scarcely more than muttered, ''Other 

friends have flown before — 
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes 

have flown before. ' ' 

Then the bird said, "Nevermore." 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly 

spoken, 
^'Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only 

stock and store, 



\ THE RAVEN 73 

Caught from some unhappy master whom un- 
merciful Disaster 

Followed fast and followed faster till his songs 
one burden bore — 

Till the dirges of his Hope that melanchok^ bir- 
den bore 

Of 'Never — nevermore.' " 

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into 

smiling, 
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of 

bird, and bust, and door ; 
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself 

to linking 
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous 

bird of yore — 
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and 

ominous bird of yore 

Meant in croaking *' Nevermore. ' ' 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable 
expressing 

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into 
my bosom 's core ; 

This and more I sat divining, with my head at 
ease reclining 

On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp- 
light gloated o'er 

But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp- 
light gloating o'er, 

She shall press, ah, nevermore ! 
I. 8 



74 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed 
from an unseen censer 

Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on 
the tufted floor. 

''Wretch," I cried, ''thy God hath lent thee— 
by these angels he hath sent thee 

Respite — respite and nepenthe from thy memo- 
ries of Lenore ! 

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget 
this lost Lenore ! ' ' 

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

*' Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil !— prophet 

still, if bird or devil ! — 
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest 

tossed thee here ashore. 
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land 

enchanted — 
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, 

I implore — 
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — 

tell me, I implore ! ' ^ 

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." 

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil !— prophet 

still, if bird or devil ! 
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that 

God we both adore — 
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the 

distant Aidenn, 
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels 

name Lenore — 



THE RAVEN 75 

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels 
name Lenore. ' ' 

Quoth the Raven, *' Nevermore. " 

**Be that word our sign of parting, bird or 

fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting — 
* * Gret thee back into the tempest and the Night *s 

Plutonian shore ! 
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy 

soul hath spoken ! 
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust 

above my door! 
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy 

form from off my door!*' 

Quoth the Raven, ** Nevermore. " 

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, 
still is sitting 

On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my cham- 
ber door ; 

And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's 
that is dreaming, 

And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws 
his shadow on the floor ; 

And my soul from out that shadow that lies 
floating on the floor 

Shall be lifted — nevermore ! 



76 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 



NOTE TO "ULALUME." 

" Ulalume " was first published in Colton's American Re- 
view, for December, 1847. On December 8, 1847, Poe wrote 
to N. P. Willis, editor of the Home Journal, as follows : 

" I send you an American IWhig] Review — the number 
just issued — in which is a ballad by myself, but published 
anonymausly. It is called ' Ulalume ' — the page is turned 
dov/n. I do not care to be known as its author just now ; 
but would take it as a great favor if you would copy it in 
the Home Journalj with a word of inquiry as to who wrote 
it : — provided always that you think the poem worth the 
room it would occupy in your paper — a matter about which 
I am by no means sure." 

Willis, accordingly, printed the poem with ttie following 
comment : 

" We do not know how many readers we have who will 
enjoy, as we do, the following exquisitely piquant and skilful 
exercise of variety and niceness of language. It is a poem 
which we find in the American Rcvieio, full of beauty and 
oddity in sentiment and versification, but a curiosity (and a 
delicious one, v/e think) in philologic flavor. Who is the 
author? " 

Naturally there were many who accredited the poem to 
Willis himself. 

As printed in the American Whir/ Revieiv and in the Home 
Journal, the poem contained the following stanza, which, at 
the suggestion of Mrs. S. Helen Whitman, Poe omitted from 
subsequent republications as of inferior quality to the other 
stanzas : 

Said ive, then, the two, then — " Ah, can it 

Have been that the woodlandish ghouls. 

The pitiful, the merciless ghouls — 
To bar up our way and to ban it 

From the secret that lies in these wolds — 

From the thing that lies hidden in these wolds — 
Had drawn up the spectre of a planet 

From the limbo of lunary souls, 
This sinfully scintillant planet 

From the Hell of the planetary souls? " 

— Editob. 



ULALUME 



The skies they were ashen and sober ; 

The leaves they were crisped and sere — 

The leaves they were withering and sere; 
It was night in the lonesome October 

Of my most immemorial year; 
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, 

In the misty mid region of Weir — 
It w.as down by the dank tarn of Auber, 

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 

Here once, through an alley Titanic, 

Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul — 
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul. 

These were days when my heart was volcanic 
As the scoriae rivers that roll — 
As the lavas that restlessly roll 

Their sulphurous currents do\^Ti Yaanek 
In the ultimate climes of the pole — 

That groan as they roll do^Ti Mount Yaanek 
In the realms of the boreal pole. 

Our talk had been serious and sober, 

But our thoughts they were palsied and 
sere — 

Our memories were treacherous and sere — 
For we knew not the month was October, 

77 



78 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

And we marked not the night of the year — 

.(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) 
We noted not the dim lake of Auber — 

(Though once we had journeyed down 
here) — 
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, 

Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. 

And now, as the night was senescent 
And star-dials pointed to morn — 
As the sun-dials hinted of morn — 

At the end of our path a liquescent 
And nebulous lustre was born, 

Out of which a miraculous crescent 
Arose with a duplicate horn — 

Astarte's bediamonded crescent 

Distinct with its duplicate horn. 

And I said — ' ' She is warmer than Dian : 
She rolls through an ether of sighs — 
She revels in a region of sighs: 

She has seen that the tears are not dry on 
These cheeks, where the worm never dies, 

And has come past the stars of the Lion 
To point us the path to the skies — 
To the Lethean peace of the skies — 

Come up, in despite of the Lion, 

To shine on us with her bright eyes — 

Come up through the lair of the Lion, 
With love in her luminous eyes. ' * 

But Psyche, uplifting her finger, 

Said — * ' Sadly this star I mistrust — 



ULALUME 79 

Her pallor I strangely mistrust : — 
Oh, hasten ! — oh, let us not linger ! 

Oh, fly ! — let us fly ! — for we must. ' * 
In terror she spoke, letting sink her 

Wings until they trailed in the dust — 
In agony sobbed, letting sink her 

Plumes till they trailed in the dust — 

TiU they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. 

I replied — " This is nothing but dreaming : 
Let us on by this tremulous light ! 
Let us bathe in this crystalline light ! 

Its Sibyllie splendor is beaming 

With Hope and in Beauty to-night: — 
See! — it flickers up the sky through the 
night ! 

Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming. 
And be sure it will lead us aright — 

We safely may trust to a gleaming 
That cannot but guide us aright, 
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the 
night.'' 

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her. 
And tempted her out of her gloom — 
And conquered her scruples and gloom ; 

And we passed to the end of a vista. 

But were stopped by the door of a tomb — 
By the door of a legended tomb ; 

And I said — "What is written, sweet sister, 
On the door of this legended tomb?" 
She replied — ' * Ulalume — Ulalume — 
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!'' 



80 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOB 

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober 

As the leaves that were crisped and sere — 
As the leaves that were withering and sere ; 

And I cried — ' ' It was surely October 
On this very night of last year 
That I journeyed — I journeyed down 

here — 
That I brought a dread burden down here ! 
On this night of all nights in the year, 
Ah, what demon has tempted me here? 

Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber — 
This misty mid region of Weir — 

Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, — 
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir. ' ' 



THE BELLS* 



I. 
Hear the sledges with the bells — 
Silver bells ! 
What a world of merriment their melody fore* 
tells ! 

How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, 

In the icy air of night ! 
While the stars, that oversprinkle 
All the heavens, seem to twinkle 
With a crystalline delight ; 
Keeping time, time, time, 
In a sort of Runic rhyme, 
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells 
From the bells, bells, bells, bells, 
Bells, bells, bells— 
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells. 

II. 
Hear the mellow wedding bells, 
Golden bells ! 
What a world of happiness their harmony fore- 
tells ! 

• The third and final draft of what was originally a very- 
slight poem of seventeen lines. Published in its full form in 
the Union Magazine for October, 1849. Suggested by a friend, 
Mrs. M. A. Shew, to whom Poe in the first draft accredited 
authorship of the poem. — Editor. 
81 



82 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Through the balmy air of night 
How they ring out their delight ! — 
From the molten golden-notes, 

And all in tune, 
What a liquid ditty floats 
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats 
On the moon! 
Oh, from out the sounding cells, 
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells! 
How it swells ! 
How it dwells 
On the future ! how it tells 
Of the rapture that impels 
To the swinging and the ringing 

Of the bells, bells, bells — 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells. 
Bells, bells, bells— 
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells ! 

m. 
Hear the loud alarum bells — 
Brazen bells ! 
What a tale of terror now their turbulency tells ! 
In the startled ear of night 
How they scream out their affright ! 
Too much horrified to speak, 
They can only shriek, shriek, 
Out of tune. 
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the 

fire, 
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and fran- 
tic fire 

Leaping higher, higher, higher, 



THE BELLS 83 

With a desperate desire, 
And a resolute endeavor 
Now — now to sit or never, 
By the side of the pale-faced moon. 
Oh, the bells, bells, bells ! 
What a tale their terror tells 
Of Despair ! 
How they clang, and clash, and roar ! 
What a horror they outpour 
On the bosom of the palpitating air ! 
Yet the ear it fully knows, 
By the twanging, 
And the clanging, 
How the danger ebbs and flows ; 
Yet the ear distinctly tells, 
In the jangling. 
And the wrangling. 
How the danger sinks and swells, 
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of 
the bells — 

Of the bells— 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells, 
Bells, bells, bells — 
In the clamor and the clangor of the beUs ! 

IV. 

Hear the tolling of the bells — 
Iron bells ! 
What a world of solemn thought their monody 
compels ! 

In the silence of the night, 
How we shiver with affright 
At the melancholy menace of their tone ! 



84 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

For every sound that floats 
From the rust within their throats 

Is a groan. 
And the people — ah, the people — 
They that dwell up in the steeple, 
All alone, 
And who tolling, tolling, tolling, 

In that muffled monotone, 
Feel a glory in so rolling 

On the human heart a stone — 
They are neither man nor woman — 
They are neither brute nor human — 
They are Ghouls: 
And their king it is who tolls ; 
And he rolls, rolls, rolls, 
Rolls 
A psean from the bells ! 
And his merry bosom swells 

With the paean of the bells ! 
And he dances, and he yells ; 
Keeping time, time, time. 
In a sort of Runic rhyme, 
To the paBan of the bells — 
Of the bells: 
Keeping time, time, time. 
In a sort of Runic rhyme. 

To the throbbing of the bells — 
Of the bells, bells, bells — 

To the sobbing of the bells ; 
Keeping time, time, time. 

As he knells, knells, knells, 
In a happy Runic rhyme. 
To the rolling of the bells — 



THE BELLS 85 

Of the bells, bells, bells— 
To the tolling of the bells. 
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells. 
Bells, bells, bells — 
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells. 



TO HELEN* 



I SAW thee once — once only — years ago : 

I must not say how many — ^but not many. 

It was a July midnight ; and from out 

A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, 

soaring, 
Sought a precipitate pathway up through 

heaven. 
There fell a silvery-silken veil of light, 
With quietude, and sultriness and slumber. 
Upon the upturn 'd faces of a thousand 
Roses that grew in an enchanted garden. 
Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe — 
Fell on the upturned faces of these roses 
That gave out, in return for the love-light. 
Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death — 
Fell on the upturned faces of these roses 
That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted 
By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence. 

Clad all in white, upon a violet bank 
I saw thee half-reclining ; while the moon 
Fell on the upturn 'd faces of the roses. 
And on thine own, upturn 'd — alas, in sorrow ! 

* " To Helen " (Mrs. S. Helen Whitman) was not published 
xmtil November, 1848, although written several months earlier. 
Tt first appeared in the Union Magazine, and with the omis- 
'-ion, contrary to the knowledge or desire of Poe, of the lines. 
" O Heaven ! O God ! — how my heart beats in coupling those 
two words !" — Editor. 



TO HELEN 87 

Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight — 
Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow), 
That bade me pause before that garden-gate. 
To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses ? 
No footstep stirred : the hated world all slept, 
Save only thee and me — (0 Heaven! — God! 
How my heart beats in coupling those two 

words ! ) — 
Save only thee and me. I paused — I looked — 
And in an instant all things disappeared. 
(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!) 
The pearly lustre of the moon went out: 
The mossy banks and the meandering paths, 
The happy flowers and the repining trees. 
Were seen no more : the very roses ' odors 
Died in the arms of the adoring airs. 
All — all expired save thee — save less than thou: 
Save only the divine light in thine eyes — 
Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes. 
I saw but them — they were the world to me. 
I saw but them — saw only them for hours — 
Saw only them until the moon went down. 
AVhat wild heart -histories seemed to lie enwritten 
Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! 
How dark a woe ! yet how sublime a hope ! 
How silently serene a sea of pride ! 
How daring an ambition ! yet how deep — 
How fathomless a capacity for love! 

But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, 
Into a western couch of thunder-cloud ; 
And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees 
Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained. 



88 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

They would not go — they never yet have gone. 
Lighting my lonely pathway home that night, 
They have not left me (as my hopes have) since. 
They follow me — they lead me through the years- 
They are my ministers — yet I their slave. 
Their office is to illumine and enkindle — 
My duty, to he saved by their bright light, 
And purified in their electric fire, 
And sanctified in their elysian fire. 
They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope), 
And are far up in Heaven — the stars I kneel to 
In the sad, silent watches of my night ; 
iWhile even in the meridian glare of day 
I see them still — two sweetly scintillant 
Veauses, unextinguished by the sun ! 



ANNABEL LEE' 



It was many and many a year ago, 

In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived whom you may know 

By the name of Annabel Lee ; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 

Than to love and be loved by me. 

/ was a child and she was a child, 

In this kingdom by the sea : 
But we loved with a love that was more than 
love — 

I and my Annabel Lee ; 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven 

Coveted her and me. 

And this was the reason that, long ago, 

In this kingdom by the sea. 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 

My beautiful Annabel Lee ; 

• In 1849 Poe sent a copy of this ballad to the Union Maga- 
eine, in which publication it appeared in January, 1850, three 
months after the author's death. Whilst suffering from " hope 
deferred " as to its fate, Poe presented a copy of " Annabel 
Lee " to the editor of the Southern- Literary Messenger, who 
published it in the November number of his periodical, a 
month after Poe's death. In the meantime the poet's own copy, 
left among his papers, passed into the hands of tne person 
engaged to edit his works, and he quoted the poem In an obit- 
uary of Poe, in the New York Tribune, before any one else 
had an opportiinity of publishing it. — Editor, 

I. 9 60 



90 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN FOB 

So that her highborn kinsmen came 

And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 

In this kingdom by the sea. 

The angels, not half so happy in heaven, 

Went envying her and me — 
Yes! — that was the reason (as all men know, 

In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 

Chilling and killing my Annabel. Lee. 
But our love it was stronger by far than the love 

Of those who were older than we — 

Of many far wiser than we — 
And neither the angels in heaven above, 

Nor the demons down under the sea, 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. 

For the moon never beams without bringing me 
dreams 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee ; 
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee ; 
And, so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my 
bride. 

In her sepulchre there by the sea — 

In her tomb by the sounding sea. 



%■ 



A VALENTINE* 



[PubKshed in Sartain's Union Magazine for Mareh, 
1849.] 



For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous 
ej^es, 

Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda, 
Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies 

Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader. 
Search narrowly the lines ! — they hold a treasure 

Divine — a talisman — an amulet 
That must be worn at heart. Search well the 
measure — 

The words — the syllables ! Do not forget 
The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor ! 

And yet there is in this no Gordian knot 
Which one might not undo without a sabre. 

If one could merely comprehend the plot. 
Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering 

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus 
Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing 

Of poets by poets — as the name is a poet's too. 
Its letters, although naturally lying 

Like the knight Pinto— Mendez Ferdinando — 
Still form a synonym for Truth — Cease trying! 

You will not read the riddle, though you do 
the best you can do. 

• To discover the names In this and the following poem, 
read the first letter of the first line in connection w^ith the 
second letter of the second line, the third letter of the third 
line, the fourth of the fourth and so on to the end. — EJditor. 
91 






AN ENIGMA* 



[Published in Sartain's Union Magazine for March, 
1848.] 



''Seldom we find/' says Solomon Don Dunce, 

*'Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet. 

Through all the flimsy things we see at once 

As easily as through a Naples bonnet — 

Trash of all trash ! — how can a lady don it ? 

Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff — 

Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff 

Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it.** 
And, veritably, Sol is right enough. 
The general tuckermanities are arrant 
Bubbles — ephemeral and so transparent — 

But this is, now — ^you may depend upon it^ 
Stable, opaque, immortal — all by dint 
Of the dear names that lie concealed within 't. 

* See note on previous page. — Editoe. 



TO MY MOTHER* 



[Published in the Flag of Our Union, 1849.] 



Because I feel that, in the Heavens above, 

The angels, whispering to one another, 
Can find, among their burning terms of love, 

None so devotional as that of ''Mother," 
Therefore by that dear name I long have called 
you — 

You who are more than mother unto me, 
And fill my heart of heai'ts, where Death in- 
stalled you, 

In setting my Virginia's spirit free. 
My mother — my own mother, who died early, " 

Was but the mother of myself ; but you 
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly. 

And thus are dearer than the mother I knew 
By that infinity with which my wife 

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life. 

* Addressed to the poet's mother-in-law, Mrs. Maria Clemm. 
-Editob, 



...^"X 



FOR ANNIE 



[Fixst published in the Flag of Our Uniofi in the 
spring of 1849. Poe, annoyed at some misprints in this 
issue, had a corrected copy inserted in the Home Jomr* 



Thank Heaven! the crisis — 

The danger is past, 
And the lingering illness 

Is over at last — 
And the fever called "Living" 

Is conquered at last. 

Sadly, I know, 

I am shorn of my strength, 
And no muscle I move 

As I lie at full length — 
But no matter !— I feel 

I am better at length. 

And I rest so composedly, 

Now, in my bed, 
That any beholder 

Might fancy me dead — 
Might start at beholding me, 

Thinking me dead. 

• Mrs. Annie Richmond, of Lowell, Mass. — Eorros. 
94 



FOR ANNIE 

The moaning and groaning, 
The sighing and sobbing, 

Are quieted now, 

With that horrible throbbing 

At heart : — ah, that horrible, 
Horrible throbbing ! 

The sickness — the nausea — 

The pitiless pain — 
Have ceased, with the fever 

That maddened my brain — 
With the fever called "Living" 

That burned in my brain. 

And oh ! of all tortures 

That torture the worst 
Has abated — the terrible 

Torture of thirst, 
For the naphthaline river 

Of Passion accurst: — 
I have drunk of a water 

That quenches all thirst :•— 

Of a water that flows, 
With a lullaby sound. 

From a spring, but a very few 
Feet under ground — 

From a cavern not very far 
Down under ground. 

And ah! let it never 

Be foolishly said 
That my room it is gloomy 



96 WORKS OF EDGAIt ALLAN POE 

And narrow my bed — 
For man never slept 

In a different bed; 
And, to sleep, you must slumber 

In just such a bed. 

My tantalised spirit 

Here blandly reposes, 
Forgetting, or never 

Regretting its roses — 
Its old agitations 

Of myrtles and roses: 

For now, while so quietly 

Lying, it fancies 
A holier odor 

About it, of pansies — 
A rosemary odor. 

Commingled with pansies — 
With rue and the beautiful 

Puritan pansies. 

And so it lies happily, 

Bathing in many 
A dream of the truth 

And the beauty of Annie — 
Drowned in a bath 

Of the tresses of Annie. 

She tenderly kissed me, 
She fondly caressed. 
And then I fell gently 



FOR AiWIE 97 

To sleep on her breast — 
Deeply to sleep 

From the heaven of her breast. 

When the light was extinguished, 

She covered me warm, 
And she prayed to the angels 

To keep me from harm — 
To the queen of the angels 

To shield me from harm. 

And I lie so composedly, 

Now in my bed, 
(Knowing her love) 

That you fancy me dead — 
And I rest so contentedly. 

Now in my bed, 
("With her love at my breast) 

That you fancy me dead — 
That you shudder to look at me, 

Thinking me dead. 

But my heart it is brighter 

Than all of the many 
Stars in the sky, 

For it sparkles with Anni 
It glows with the light 

Of the love of my Annie — 
"With the thought of the light 

Of the eyes of my Annie. 



TO F * 



Beloved ! amid the earnest woes 

That crowd around my earthly path— 

(Drear path, alas! where grows 

Not even one lonely rose) — 
My soul at least a solace hath 

In dreams of thee, and therein knows 

An Eden of bland repose. 

And thus thy memory is to me 
Like some enchanted far-off isle 

In some tumultuous sea — 

Some ocean throbbing far and free 
With storms — but where meanwhile 

Serenest skies continually 

Just o'er that one bright island smile. 

• "To F " (Frances Sargent Osgood) appeared in the 

Broadway Journal for April, 1845. These lines are but slightly 
varied from those inscribed " To Mary," in the Southern Liter- 
ary Messenger for July, 1835, and subsequently republished, 
•with the two stanzas transposed, in Graham's Magazine for 
March, 1842, as " To One Departed." — Editor. 



TO FRANCES S. OSGOOD* 



Thou wouldst be loved?— then let thy heart 

From its present pathway part not ; 
Being everything which now thou art, 

Be nothing which thou art not. 
So with the world thy gentle ways, 

Thy grace, thy more than beauty. 
Shall be an endless theme of praise, 

And love a simple duty. 

* Published in the Broadway Journal for September, 1845. 
The earliest version of these lines appeared in the Southern 
Literary Messenger for September, 1835, as " Lines written 
in an Album," and was addressed to Eliza White, the pro- 
prietor's daughter. Slightly revised, the poem reappeared in 
Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for August, 1839, as " To 
— . — Bditob. 



99 



ELDORADO 



[Published in E. W. Oris wold *s collection of Poe% 
works, 1850.] 

Gaily bedight, 

A gallant knight 
In sunshine and in shadow, 

Had journeyed long, 

Singing a song, 
In search of Eldorado. 

But he grew old — 

This knight so bold — 
And o 'er his heart a shadow 

Fell as he found 

No spot of ground 
That looked like Eldorado. 

And, as his strength 

Failed him at length 
He met a pilgrim shadow — 

*' Shadow,'' said he, 

** Where can it be — 
This land of Eldorado?" 

**Over the Mountains 

Of the Moon, 
Down the Valley of the Shadow, 

Ride, boldly ride, ' ' 

The shade replied, 
^*If you seek for Eldorado! 

100 



i»r 



EULALIE— A SONG 



{Published in the American Whig Review, July, 1845.J 



I DWELT alone 
In a world of moan, 
And my soul was a stagnant tide, 
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blush- 

ing bride — 
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my 
smiling bride. 

Ah, less — ^less bright 

The stars of the night 
Than the eyes of the radiant girl ! 

And never a flake 

That the vapor can make 
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl, 
Can vie with the modest Eulalie 's most unre- 
garded curl — 
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie *s most 
humble and careless curl. 

Now DoubfczzriLQisiPain-- 
Come never again. 
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh, 
And all day long 
Shines, bright and strong, 
Astarte within the sky, 
While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her ma- 
tron eye — 
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns heff 



violet eye. 



101 



A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM 



[Published in R. W. Griswold's collection of Poe's 
porkS; 1850.] 



Take this kiss upon the brow ! 

And, in parting from you now, 

Thus much let me avow — 

You are not wrong, who deem 

That my days have been a dream 

Yet if hope has flown away 

In a night, or in a day, 

In a vision, or in non^. 

Is it therefore the less gone? 

All that we see or seem 

Is but a dream within a dream. 

I stand amid the roar 
Of a surf -tormented shore, 
And I hold within my hand 
Grains of the golden sand — 
How few ! yet how they creep 
Through my fingers to the deep, 
While I weep — while I weep ! 
O God ! can I not grasp 
Them with a tighter clasp ? 
God ! can I not save 
One from the pitiless wave'; 
Is all that we see or seem 
But a dream within a dreamt 



loe 



TO M. 



Of all who hail thy presence as the morning— 

Of all to whom thine absence is the night — 

The blotting utterly from out high heaven 

The sacred sun — of all who, weeping, bless thee 

Hourly for hope — for life — ah, above all, 

For the resurrection of deep buried faith 

In truth, in virtue, in humanity — 

Of all who, on despair's unhallowed bed 

Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen 

At thy soft-murmured words, **Let there be 

light!'' 
At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled 
In the seraphic glancing of thine eyes — 
Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude 
Nearest resembles worship, — oh, remember 
The truest, the most fervently devoted. 
And think that these weak lines are written by 

him — 
By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think 
His spirit is communing with an angel's. 

* Published in the Home Journal, March 13, 1847, with the 
following introduction by the editor, N. P. Willis : " The fol- 
lowing seems said over a hand clasped in the speaker's two. 
It is by Edgar A. Poe and is evidently the pouring out of 
a very deep feeling of gratitude." The person addressed is 
Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, whose nursing probably saved Po« 
from death. — Editor. 



108 



TO [MARIE LOUISE]' 



[Published in the Columbian Magazine, March, 1848.] 



Not long ago, the writer of these lines. 
In the mad pride of intellectuality, 
Maintained "the power of words" — denied that 

ever 
A thought arose within the human brain 
Beyond the utterance of the human tongue : 
And now, as if in mockery of that boast, 
Two words — two foreign soft dissyllables — 
Italian tones, made only to be murmured 
By angels dreaming in the moonlit ' ' dew 
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon 

hill;"— 
Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart, 
Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of 

thought. 
Richer, far wider, far diviner visions 
Than even the seraph harper, Israfel, 
(Who has *Hhe sweetest voice of all God^s crea- 
tures,") 
Could hope to utter. And I ! my spells are 
broken. 

♦ Mrs. Shew. See preceding poem. — Editor. 
194 



TO [IVIAEIE LOUISEJ lu5 

The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand. 
With thy dear name as text, though bidden by 

thee, 
I cannot write — I cannot speak or think — 
Alas, I cannot feel; for 'tis not feeling, 
This standing motionless upon the golden 
Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams. 
Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista, 
And thrilling as I see, upon the right. 
Upon the left, and all the way along. 
Amid empurpled vapors, far away 
To where the prospect terminates — thee only! 



I. 10 



THE CITY IN THE SEA 



[Published in 1831, under the title of " The Doomed 
City," in variant form from that of the present (1845).] 



Lo ! Death has reared himself a throne 

In a strange city lying alone 

Far down within the dim West, 

Where the good and the bad and the worst and 

the best 
Have gone to their eternal rest. 
There shrines and palaces and towers 
(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) 
Resemble nothing that is onrs. 
Around, by lifting winds forgot, 
Resignedly beneath the sky 
The melancholy waters lie. 

No rays from the holy Heaven come down 
On the long night-time of that town ; 
But light from out the lurid sea 
Streams up the turrets silently — 
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free — 
Up domes — ^up spires — up kingly halls — 
T^p fanes — up Babylon-like walls — 
I^p shadowy long-forgotten bowers 
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers — 
Up many and many a marvellous shrine 
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine 

106 



THE CITY IN THE SEA lOV 

The viol, the violet, and the vine. 

Resignedly beneath the sky 

The melancholy waters lie. 

So blend the turrets and shadows there 

That all seem pendulous in air, 

While from a proud tower in the town 

Death looks gigantically down. 

There open fanes and gaping graves 
Yawn level with the luminous waves ; 
But not the riches there that lie 
In each idol's diamond eye — 
Not the gaily-jewelled dead 
Tempt the waters from their bed; 
For no ripples curl, alas ! 
Along that wilderness of glass — 
No swellings tell that winds may be 
Upon some far-off happier sea — 
No heavings hint that winds have been 
On seas less hideously serene. 

But lo, a stir is in the air ! 
The wave — there is a movement there ! 
As if the towers had thrust aside. 
In slightly sinking, the dull tide — 
As if their tops had feebly given 
A void within the filmy Heaven. 
The waves have now a redder glow — 
The hours are breathing faint and low — 
And when, amid no earthly moans, 
Down, down that town shall settle hence, 
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, 
Shall do it reverence. 



THE SLEEPER 



[Publighed in 1831 under title of " Irene,** in variant 
form from that of the present (1845).] 



At midnight in the month of June, 
I stand beneath the mystic moon. 
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim. 
Exhales from out her golden rim, 
And, softly dripping, drop by drop, 
Upon the quiet mountain top, 
Steals drowsily and musically 
Into the universal valley. 
The rosemary nods upon the grave ; 
The lily lolls upon the wave ; 
Wrapping the fog about its breast, 
The ruin moulders into rest; 
Looking like Lethe, see ! the lake 
A conscious slumber seems to take, 
And would not, for the world, awake. 
All Beauty sleeps ! — and lo ! where lies 
(Her casement open to the skies) 
Irene, with her Destinies ! 

Oh, lady bright ! can it be right — 
This window open to the night ? 

106 



THE SLEEPER 109 

The wanton airs, from the tree-top, 

Laughingly through the lattice drop — 
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout, 
Flit through thy chamber in and out, 
And wave the curtain canopy 
So fitfully — so fearfully — 
Above the closed and fringed lid 
'Neath which thy slumb 'ring soul lies hid 
That, o 'er the floor and down the wall. 
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall! 
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear ? 
Why and what art thou dreaming here t 
Sure thou art come o 'er far-off seas, 
A wonder to these garden trees ! 
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress I 
Strange, above all, thy length of tress, 
And this all-solemn silentness! 

The lady sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep, 
Which is enduring, so be deep ! 
Heaven have her in its sacred keep ! 
This chamber changed for one more holy^ 
This bed for one more melancholy, 
I pray to God that she may lie 
For ever with unopened eye, 
While the dim sheeted ghosts go by ! 

My love, she sleeps ! Oh, may her sleep, 

As it is lasting, so be deep; 

Soft may the worms about her creep ! 

Far in the forest, dim and old, 

For her may some tall vault unfold — 

Some vault that oft hath flung its black 



110 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

And winged panels fluttering back, 
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls, 
Of her grand family funerals — 
Some sepulchre, remote, alone, 
Against whose portal she hath thrown, 
In childhood many an idle stone — 
Some tomb from out whose sounding door 
She ne 'er shall force an echo more. 
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin ! 
It was the dead who groaned within. 



BRIDAL BALLAD 



[Published in the Southern Literary Messengetf Jan* 
nary, 1837 j republished with omissions and alterations 
in 1841 and 1845.] 



The ring is on my hand, 
And the wreath is on my brow; 

Satins and jewels grand 

Are all at my command, 
And I am happy now. 

And my lord he loves me well ; 

But, when first he breathed his vow, 
I felt my bosom swell — 
For the words rang as a knell, 
And the voice seemed his who fell 
In the battle down the dell. 

And who is happy now. 

But he spoke to reassure me, 

And he kissed my pallid brow, 
"While a reverie came o'er me, 
And to the churchyard bore me. 
And I sighed to him before me. 
Thinking him dead D 'Elormie, 
**0h, I am happy now!" 
Ill 



112 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

And thus the words were spoken, 
And this the plighted vow, 

And, though my faith be broken, 

And, though my heart be broken. 

Behold the golden token 
That proves me happy now ! 

Would to God I could awaken ! 

For I dream I know not how. 
And my soul is sorely shaken 
Lest an evil step be taken, — 
Lest the dead who is forsaken 

May not be happy now. 



A PiEAN 



[Published in the edition of 1831.] 



I. 
How shall the burial rite be read? 

The solemn song be sung ? 
The requiem for the loveliest dead, 

That ever died so young? 

n. 

Her friends are gazing on her, 

And on her gaudy bier, 
And weep! — oh! to dishonour 

Dead beauty with a tear ! 

m. 
They loved her for her wealth — 

And they hated her for her pride- 
But she grew in feeble health, 

And they loved her — that she died. 

IV. 

They tell me (while they speak 
Of her ** costly broider'd pall'') 

113 



114 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

That my voice is growing weak — 
That I should not sing at all — 

V. 

Or that my tone should be 
Tun 'd to such solemn song 

So mournfully — so mournfully, 
That the dead may feel no wrong. 

VI. 

But she is gone above, 

With young hope at her side, 

And I am drunk with love 

Of the dead, who is my bride. — 

vn. 
Of the dead — dead who lies 

All perf um 'd there, 
With the death upon her eyes, 

And the life upon her hair. 

vm. 

Thus on the coffin loud and long 
I strike — the murmur sent 

Through the grey chambers to my song 
Shall be the accompaniment. 

IX. 

Thou diedst in thy life 's June— - 
But thou didst not die too fair: 

Thou didst not die too soon, 
Nor with too calm an air. 



A P^AN 115 

X. 

From more than friends on earth, 

Thy life and love are riven, 
To join the untainted mirth 

Of more than thrones in heaven. — 

XI. 

Therefore, to thee this night 

I will no requiem raise. 
But waft thee on thy flight, 

With a Psean of old days. 



LENORE^ 



Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown 

for ever ! 
Let the bell toll! — a saintly soul floats on the 

Stygian river. 
And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear? — weep 

now or never more! 
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy 

love, Lenore! 
Come! let the burial rite be read — the funeral 

song be sung — 
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died 

so young; 
A dirge for her — the doubly dead — in that she 

died so young. 

• " Built up from the preceding poem. Published in various 
forms in 1836, 1843, and 1845. The version which appeared 
in The Pioneer, February, 1843, was in irregular measure. Of 
this Thomas Wentworth Higginson says : " Never in Ameri- 
can literature, I think, was such a fountain of melody flung 
into the air as when ' Lenore ' first appeared in The Pioneer, 
and never did fountain so drop downward as when Poe ar- 
ranged it in its present form [regular iambic heptameter]. 
The irregular measure had a beauty as original as that of 
' Christabel ' ; and the lines had an ever-varying cadence of 
their own, until their author himself took them and cramped 
them into couplets. What a change from 
Peccavimus I 
But rave not thus ! 

Jjxd let the solemn song 
Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong ! 
to the amended version portioned off in regular lengths ! " 

However, this is a difference which is apparent only to the 
eye. Division of verse into any particular line-form was with 
Poe (see his "Rationale of Verse," Vol. X., present edition) 
wholly immaterial. " Lenore " is here printed as Poe desired 
it to appear in his collected poems. — Editor. 
116 



LENORE 117 

** Wretches!'* ye loved her for her wealth and 

hated her for her pride, 
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed 

her — that she died ! 
How shall the ritual, then, be read ? — the requiem 

how be sung 
By you — by yours, the evil eye, — ^by yours, the 

slanderous tongue 
That did to death the innocence that died, and 

died so young! 

Peccavimus; but rave not thus ! and let a Sab- 
bath song 
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no 

wrong ! 
The sweet Lenore hath gone before, with Hope, 

that flew beside. 
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should 

have been thy bride — 
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so 

lowly lies, 
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her 

eyes — 
The life still there, upon her hair — the death 

upon her eyes. 

*'Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge 

will I upraise, 
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of 

old days! 
Let no bell toll, then; lest her soul, amid its 

hallowed mirth, 



118 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Should catch the note, as it doth float up from 
the damned Earth. 

To friends above, from fiends below, the indig- 
nant ghost is riven — 

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the 
Heaven — 

From grief and groan to a golden throne beside 
the King of Heaven. ' '* 

* The edition of 1845 has the following variant form of the 
last stanza : 
" Avaunt ! — avaunt ! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is 

riven — 
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven — 
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of 

Heaven." 
Let no bell toll then ! — lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth. 
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damndd 

Earth ! — 
And I ! — to-night my heart is light ! — no dirge will I upraise. 
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days f 



TO ONE IN PARADISE 



[Published in the Southern Literary Messenger, July, 
1835.] 



Thou wast that all to me, love, 
For which my soul did pine — 

A green isle in the sea, love, 
A fountain and a shrine, 

All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers, 
And all the flowers were mine. 

Ah, dream too bright to last ! 

Ah, starry Hope ! that didst arise 
But to be overcast! 

A voice from out the Future cries, 
' ' On ! on ! ' '—but o 'er the Past 

(Dim gulf !) my spirit hovering lies 
Mute, motionless, aghast! 

For, alas ! alas ! with me 

The light of Life is o'er! 
**No more — no more — no more" — 
(Such language holds the solemn sea 

To the sands upon the shore) 

• Introduced by Poe in his tale, " The Assignation," q. ▼. 
Vol. VI., present edition. — Editor. 
119 



120 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree, 
Or the stricken eagle soar ! 

And all my days are trances, 
And all my nightly dreams 

Are where thy dark eye glances, 
And where thy footstep gleams — 

In what ethereal dances, 
By what eternal streams ! 

Alas ! for that accursed time 
They bore thee o 'er the billow, 

From love to titled age and crime, 
And an unholy pillow ! — 

From me, and from our misty clime. 
Where weeps the silver willow! 



THE COLISEUM 



[Published in the Baltimore Saturday Visiter, 1833.] 



Type of the antique Eome ! Rich reliquary 

Of lofty contemplation left to Time 

By buried centuries of pomp and power ! 

At length — at length — after so many days 

Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst, 

(Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,) 

I kneel, an altered and an humble man, 

Amid thy shadows, and so drink within 

My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory ! 

Vastness ! and Age ! and Memories of Eld ! 
Silence ! and Desolation ! and dim Night ! 
I feel ye now — I feel ye in your strength — 
O spells more sure than e'er Judsean king 
Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane ! 
O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee 
Ever drew down from out the quiet stars ! 

Here, where a hero fell, a column falls ! 
Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold, 
A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat ! 
Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair 
"Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and 
thistle! 

I. 11 181 



122 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled, 
Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home, 
Lit by the wan light of the homed moon. 
The swift and silent lizard of the stones ! 
But stay ! these walls — these ivy-clad arcades — 
These mouldering plinths — these sad and black- 
ened shafts — 
These vague entablatures — this crumbling 

frieze — 
These shattered cornices — this wreck — this 

ruin — 
These stones — alas ! these grey stones — are they 

all- 
All of the famed, and the colossal left 
By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me ? 
"Not all" — the Echoes answer me — "not all! 
Prophetic sounds and loud, arise for ever 
From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise. 
As melody from Memmon to the Sun. 
We rule the hearts of mightiest men — we rule 
With a despotic sway all giant minds. 
We are not impotent — we pallid stones. 
Not all our power is gone — not all our fame — 
Not all the magic of our high renown — 
Not all the wonder that encircles us — 
Not all the mystics that in us lie — 
Not all the memories that hang upon 
And cling around about us as a garment. 
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory.'* 



THE HAUNTED PALACE* 



[Published in the Baltimore Museum, April, 1839.] 



In the greenest of our valleys 

By good angels tenanted, 
Once a fair and stately palace — 

Radiant palace — reared its head. 
In the monarch Thought's dominion — 

It stood there ! 
Never seraph spread a pinion 

Over fabric half so fair ! 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden, 

On its roof did float and flow, 
(This — all this — was in the olden 

Time long ago), 
And every gentle air that dallied, 

In that sweet day, 
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, 

A winged odor went away. 

Wanderers in that happy valley. 

Through two luminous windows, saw 
Spirits moving musically. 

* Introduced by Poe in his tale, " The Fall of th« House of 
U^hcr," Q. V. Vol. VI., present edition. — Editor. 
123 



124 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

To a lute's well-tuned law, 
Round about a throne where, sitting 

(Prophyrogene!) 
In state his glory well befitting, 

The ruler of the realm was seen. 

And all with pearl and ruby glowing 

Was the fair palace door, 
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, 

And sparkling evermore, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 

Was but to sing. 
In voices of surpassing beauty. 

The wit and wisdom of their king. 

But evil things, in robes of sorrow. 

Assailed the monarch's high estate. 
(Ah, let us mourn! — for never morrow 

Shall dawn upon him desolate ! ) 
And round about his home the glory 

That blushed and bloomed, 
Is but a dim-remembered story 

Of the old-time entombed. 

And travellers, now, within that valley, 

Through the red-litten windows see 
Vast forms, that move fantastically 

To a discordant melody, 
While, like a ghastly rapid river. 

Through the pale door 
A hideous throng rush out for ever 

And laugh^ — but smile no more. 



THE CONQUEROR WORM^ 



[Published in Graham's Magazine, January, 1843.] 



Lo ! 'tis a gala night 

Within the lonesome latter years ! 
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight 

In veils, and drowned in tears, 
Sit in a theatre, to see 

A play of hopes and fears, 
While the orchestra breathes fitfully 

The music of the spheres. 

Mimes, in the form of God on high, 

Mutter and mumble low, 
And hither and thither fly — 

Mere puppets they, who come and go 
At bidding of vast formless things 

That shift the scenery to and fro, 
Flapping from out their Condor wings 

Invisible Wo! 

That motley drama — oh, be sure 
It shall not be forgot ! 

• Introduced by Poe in his tale, " Ligeia," q. v. Vol. VI. 
present edition. — Editob. 

125 



126 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

With its Phantom chased for evermore, 

By a crowd that seize it not, 
Through a circle that ever returneth in 

To the self -same spot, 
And much of Madness, and more of Sin, 

And Horror the soul of the plot. 

Bnt see, amid the mimic rout 

A crawling shape intrude! 
A blood-red thing that writhes from out 

The scenic solitude ! 
It writhes ! — it writhes ! — with mortal pangs 

The mimes become its food, 
And the angels sob at vermin fangs 

In human gore imbued. 

Out — out are the lights — out all ! 

And, over each quivering form. 
The curtain a funeral pall. 

Comes down with the rush of a storm, 
And the angels, all pallid and wan. 

Uprising, unveiling, affirm 
That the play is the tragedy, '^Man," 

And its hero the Conqueror Worm. 



SILENCE 



[Published in Burton's Qentleman*s Magazine , April, 
1840.] 



There are some qualities — some incorporate 
things, 

That have a double life, which thus is made 
A type of that twin entity which springs 

From matter and light, evinced in solid and 
shade. 
There is a two-fold Silence — sea and shore — 

Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places, 

Newly with grass overgrown; some solemn 
graces. 
Some human memories and tearful lore, 
Render him terrorless: his name's *'No More." 
He is the coiporate Silence : dread him not ! 

No power hath he of evil in himself; 
But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!) 

Bring thee to meet his shadow '(nameless elf, 
That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod 
No foot of man), commend thyself to God! 



127 



DREAMLAND 



[Published in Graham's Magazine, June, 1844.] 



By a route obscure and lonely, 
Haunted by ill angels only, 
Where an Eidolon, named Night, 
On a black throne reigns upright, 
I have reached these lands but newly 
From an ultimate dim Thule — 
From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime, 
Out of Space — out of Time. 

Bottomless vales and boundless floods. 
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods. 
With forms that no man can discover 
For the dews that drip all over ; 
Mountains toppling evermore; 
Into seas without a shore; 
Seas that restlessly aspire, 
Surging, unto skies of fire ; 
Lakes that endlessly outspread 
Their lone waters — lone and dead, 
Their still waters — still and chilly 
With the snows of the lolling lily. 

128 



DREAMLAND 129 

By the lakes that thus outspread 
Their lone waters, lone and dead, — 
Their sad waters, sad and chilly 
With the snows of the lolling lily, — 
By the mountains — near the river 
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever, — 
By the grey woods, — by the swamp 
Where the toad and the newt encamp, — • 
By the dismal tarns and pools 
Where dwell the Ghouls, — 
By each spot the most unholy — 
In each nook most melancholy, — 
There the traveller meets aghast 
Sheeted Memories of the Past — 
Shrouded forms that start and sigh 
As they pass the wanderer by — 
White-robed forms of friends long given, 
In agony, to the Earth — and Heaven. 



Por the heart whose woes are legion 
'Tis a peaceful, soothing region — 
For the spirit that walks in shadow 
'Tis — oh, 'tis an Eldorado ! 
But the traveller, travelling through it, 
May not — dare not openly view it; 
Never its mysteries are exposed 
To the weak human eye unclosed ; 
So wills its King, who hath forbid 
The uplifting of the fringed lid; 
And thus the sad Soul that here passes. 
Beholds it but through darkened glasses. 



130 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

By a route obscure and lonely, 
Haunted by ill angels only, 
Where an Eidolon, named Night, 
On a black throne reigns upright, 
I have wandered home but newly 
From this ultimate dim Thule. 



TO ZANTE 



[Published in the Southern Literary Messenger, Jan- 
uary, 1837.] 



Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers, 

Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take ! 
How many memories of what radiant hours 

At sight of thee and thine at once awake 1 
How many scenes of what departed bliss ! 

How many thoughts of what entombed hopes ! 
How many visions of a maiden that is 

No more — no more upon thy verdant slopes ! 
No more! alas, that magical sad sound 

Transforming all ! Thy charms shall please — 
no more — 
Thy memory no more! Accursed ground 

Hencefoii:h I hold thy flower-enamelled shore, 
hyacinthine isle ! purple Zante ! 

' ' Isola d 'oro ! Fior di Levante ! ' ' 



i« 



HYMN 



[Published in the Southern Literary Messenger^ April, 
1835, as a part of Poe 's tale, ' ' Morella, " q. v. Tol. VI^ 
present edition.] 



At morn — at noon — at twilight dim — 
Maria ! thou hast heard my hymn ! 
In joy and wo — in good and ill — 
Mother of God, be with me still ! 
When the Hours flew brightly by, 
And not a cloud obscured the sky, 
My soul, lest it should truant be, 
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee ; 
Now, when storms of Fate o 'ercast 
Darkly my Present and my Past, 
Let my Future radiant shine 
With sweet hopes of thee and thine ! 



itt 



SCENES FROM "POLITIAN"* 

AN UNPUBLISHED DRAMA 



I. 

ROME. — A Hall in a Palace. Alessandra and Castiglionb. 

Alessandra. Thou art sad, Castiglione. 

Castiglione. Sad ! — not I. 
Oh, I 'm the happiest, happiest man in Rome ! 
A few days more, thou knowest, my Alessandra^ 
Will make thee mine. Oh, I am very happy! 

Aless. Methinks thou hast a singular way of 
showing 
Thy happiness — ^what ails thee, cousin of mine? 
"Why didst thou sigh so deeply ? 

Cas. Did I sigh? 
I was not conscious of it. It is a fashion, 
A silly — a most silly fashion I have 
When I am vet^y happy. Did I sigh ? 

(sighing.) 

Aless. Thou didst. Thou are not well. Thou 
hast indulged 

• First published in the Southern Literary Messenger for 
December, 1835, and January, 1836. Republished, unaltered, 
in the 1845 collection of poems by Poe. While a more com- 
plete draft of the drama is in existence, these seem to be the 
only portions which the author was willing to let see the ligbL 
— Editor. 

183 



134 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Too much of late, and I am vexed to see it. 
Late hours and wine, Castiglione, — these 
Will ruin thee ! thou art already altered — 
Thy looks are haggard — nothing so wears away 
The constitution as late hours and wine. 

Gas. (musing). Nothing, fair cousin, noth- 
ing — not even deep sorrow — 
Wears it away like evil hours and wine. 
I will amend. 

Aless. Do it ! I would have thee drop 
Thy riotous company, too — fellows low born 
111 suit the like of old Di Broglio 's heir 
And Alessandra 's husband. 

Gas. I will drop them. 

Aless. Thou wilt — thou must. Attend thou 
also more 
To thy dress and equipage — they are over plain 
For thy lofty rank and fashion — much depends 
Upon appearances. 

Gas. I'll see to it. 

Aless. Then see to it! — pay more attention, 
sir. 
To a becoming carriage — much thou wantest 
In dignity. 

Gas. Much, much, oh, much I want 
In proper dignity. 

Aless. (Jmughtily). Thou mockest me, sir! 

Gas. ( abstractedly). Sweet, gentle Lalage! 

Aless. Heard I aright? 
I speak to him — he speaks of Lalage ! 
Sir Count! (places her hand on his shoulder) 
what art thou dreaming ? He 's not well ! 
What ails thee, sir? 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN" 135 

Cw (sto/rting). Cousin! fair cousin! — 
-4 dam! 
I crave fhy pardon — indeed I am not well — 
Your hand from off my shoulder, if you please. 
This air is most oppressive ! — Madam — the Duke ! 

Enter Di Broglio. 

Di Broglio. My son, I've news for thee! — 
hey? — what's the matter? (observing 
Alessandra) . 

I ' the pouts ? Kiss her, Castiglione ! kiss her, 

You dog ! and make it up, I say, this minute ! 

I've news for you both. Politian is expected 

Hourly in Rome — Politian, Earl of Leicester! 

We'll have him at the wedding. 'Tis his first 
visit 

To the imperial city. 
Aless. What ! Politian 

Of Britain, Earl of Leicester ? 
Di Brog. The same, my love. 

We'll have him at the wedding. A man quite 
young 

In years, but grey in fame. I have not seen 
him, 

But Rumour speaks of him as a prodigy 

Pre-eminent in arts, and arms, and wealth. 

And hisrh descent. We'll have him at the wed- 
ding. 
Aless. I have heard much of this Politian. 

Gay, volatile and giddy — is he not, 

And little given to thinking? 
Di Brog. Far from it, love. 



136 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

No branch, they say, of all philosophy 
So deep abstruse he has not mastered it. 
Learned as few are learned. 

Aless. 'Tis very strange ! 
I have known men have seen Politian 
And sought his company. They speak of him 
As of one who entered madly into life, 
Drinking the cup of pleasure to the dregs. 

Cas. Ridiculous! Now / have seen Politian 
And know him well — nor learned nor mirthful 

he. 
He is a dreamer, and a man shut out 
From common passions. 

Di Brog. Children, we disagree. 
Let us go forth and taste the fragrant air 
Of the garden. Did I dream, or did I hear 
Politian was a melancJioly man? (Exeunt.) 

II. 

ROME. — A Lady's Apartment, with a window open and looking 
into a garden. TjAT.age, in deep mourning, reading at a 
table on which lie some boolis and a hand-mirror. In the 
background Jacinta (a servant maid) leans carelessly 
upon a chair. 

Lalage. Jacinta ! is it thou ? 
Jacinta (pertly). Yes, ma'am, I'm here. 
Lai. I did not know, Jacinta you were in 
waiting. 
Sit down ! — let not my presence trouble you — 
Sit down ! — for I am humble, most humble. 
J.ac. (aside). 'Tis time. 

(Jacinta seats herself in a side-long man- 
ner upon the chair, resting her elbows 



SCENES FROM ^'POLITIAN'^ 137 

upon the hack, and regarding her mis- 
tress with a contemptuous look. Lalage 
continues to read.) 
Lai. *'It in another climate, so he said, 
Bore a bright golden flower, but not i ' this soil ! ' * 
(pauses — turns over some leaves, and re- 
sumes.) 
**No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor 

shower — 
But Ocean ever to refresh mankind 
Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind.'* 
Oh, beautiful ! — most beautiful ! — how like 
To what my fevered soul doth dream of 

Heaven ! 
happy land! (pauses) She died! — the maiden 

died! 
still more happy maiden who couldst die ! 
Jacinta ! 

(Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage 
presently resumes.) 
Again ! — a similar tale 
Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea ! 
Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of 

the play — 
*'She died full young" — one Bossola answers 

him — 
* ' I think not so — her infelicity 
Seemed to have years too many" — Ah, luckless 

lady! 
Jacinta ! (still no answer) . 

Here's a far sterner story — 
But like — oh, like in its despair — 
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily 
I. 12 



138 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

A thousand hearts — losing at length her own. 
She died. Thus endeth the history — and her 

maids 
Lean over her and weep — two gentle maids 
With gentle names — Eiros and Charmion ! 
Rainbow and Dove ! — Jacinta ! 

Jac. (pettishly). Madam, what « it? 
Lai. Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind 
As go dowT3 in the library and bring me 
The Holy Evangelists? 
Jac. Pshaw ! (Exit.) 

Lai. If there be balm 
For the wounded spirit in Gilead, it is there ! 
Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble 
Will there be found — * * dew sweeter far than that 
Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon 
hill." 

{re-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on 
the table.) 
There, ma'am, 's the book. Indeed she is very 
troublesome. ( aside. ) 
Lai. {astonished). WTiat didst thou say, 
Jacinta 1 

Have I done aught 
To grieve thee or to vex thee 1 — I am sorry. 
For thou hast served me long and ever been 
Trustworthy and respectful, {resumes her read- 
ing.) 
Jac. I can't believe 
She has any more jewels — no — no — she gave me 
all. {aside.) 
Lai. What didst thou say. Jacinta? Now I 
bethink me 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN^' 139 

Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding. 

How fares good Ugo ! — and when is it to be ♦ 

Can I do aught 1 — is there no further aid 

Thou needest, Jacinta? 
Jac. Is there no further aid ! 

That's meant for me. (aside.) Vm sure, 
madam, you need not 

Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth. 
Lai. Jewels! Jacinta, — now indeed, Jacinta, 

I thought not of the jewels. 
Jac. Oh, perhaps not ! 

But then I might have sworn it. After all, 

There's Ugo says the ring is only paste, 

For he 's sure the Count Castiglione never 

Would have given a real diamond to such as you ; 

And at the best I^m certain, madam, you can- 
not 

Have use for jewels now. But I might have 

sworn it. (Exit.) 

(Lalage bursts into tears and leans her 

head upon the table — after a short 

pause raises it.) 

Lai. Poor Lalange! — and is it come to this? 

Thy servant maid! — but courage! — 'tis but a 
viper 

Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the 
soul! (taking up the mirror.) 

Ha! here at least's a friend — too much a friend 

In earlier days — a friend will not deceive thee. 

Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou 
canst) 

A tale — a pretty tale — and heed thou not 

Though it be rife with woe. It answers me. 



140 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks, 
And Beauty long deceased — remembers me. 
Of Joy departed — H©pe, the Seraph Hope, 
Inumed and entombed! — now, in a tone 
Low, sad, and solema, bHt Mest audible, 
Whispers of early graye untimely yawning 
For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true ! — thou 

liest not! 
Thou hast no end to gain — no heart to break — 

Castiglione lied who said he loved 

Thou true — he false ! — false ! — false ! 

{While she speaks^ a monk enters her 
apartment and approaches unob- 
served.) 
Monk. Refuge thou hast. 
Sweet daughter! in Heaven. Think of eternal 

things ! 
Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray ! 
Lai. {arising hurriedly). I cannot pray! — 
My soul is at war with God ! 
The frightful sounds of merriment below 
Disturb my senses — go ! I cannot pray — 
The sweet airs from the garden worry me ! 
Thy presence grieves me — go ! — thy priestly rai- 
ment 
Pills me with dread — thy ebony crucifix 
With horror and awe ! 

Monk. Think of thy precious soul ! 
Lai. Think of my early days! — think of my 
father 
And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet 

home. 
And the rivulet that ran before the door I 



SCENES FROM ^'POLITIAN" 141 

Think of my little sisters! — think of them! 
And think of me ! — think of my trusting love 
And confidence — ^his vows — my min — think — 

think 
Of my unspeakable misery ! — begone ! 
Yet stay ! yet stay ! — what was it thou saidst of 

prayer 
And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith. 
And vows before the throne ? 

Monk. I did. 

Lai. 'Tis well. 
There is a vow 'twere fitting should be made — 
A sacred vow. imperative and urgent, 
A solem© vow ! 

Monk. Daughter, this zeal is well ! 

Lai. Father, this zeal is anything but well! 
Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing ? 
A crucifix whereon to register 
This sacred vow? {he hands her his own.) 
Not that — Oh! no! — no! — no! {shuddering.) 
Not that ! Not that ! — I tell thee, holy man, 
Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me ! 
Stand back ! I have a crucifix myself, — 
I have a crucifix ! Methinks 'twere fitting 
The deed — the vow — the symbol of the deed — 
And the deed's register should tally, father! 

{draws a cross-handled dagger and raises 
it on high.) 
Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine 
Is written in Heaven ! 

Monk. Thy words are madness, daughter, 
And speak a purpose unholy — thy lips are 
livid — 



142 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Thine eyes are wild — tempt not the wrath di- 
vine! 
Pause ere too late ! — oh, be not — be not rash ! 
Swear not the oath — oh, swear it not ! 
Lai. 'Tis sworn ! 



IIL 

An Apartment in a Palace. Politian and Baldazzab. 

Baldazzar. Arouse thee now, Politian ! 
Thou must not — nay indeed, indeed, thou shalt 

not 
Give away unto these humours. Be thyself ! 
Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee, 
And live, for now thou diest ! 

Politian. Not so, Baldazzar! 
Surely I live. 

Bal. Politian, it doth grieve me 
To see thee thus ! 

Pol. Baldazzar, it doth grieve me 
To give thee cause for grief, my honoured friend. 
Command me, sir! what wouldst thou have me 

do? 
At thy behest I will shake off that nature 
Which from my forefathers I did inherit, 
Which with my mother's milk I did imbibe, 
And be no more Politian, but some other. 
Command me, sir! 

Bal. To the field then— to the field- 
To the senate or the field. 

Pol. Alas ! alas ! 
There is an imp would follow me even there ! 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN'^ 143 

There is an imp hath followed me even there ! 
There is what voice was that ? 

Bal. I heard it not. 
I heard not any voice except thine own, 
And the echo of thine own. 

Pol. Then I but dreamed. 

Bal. Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp 
— the court 
Befit thee — Fame awaits thee — Glory calls — 
And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear 
In hearkening to imaginary sounds 
And phantom voices. 

Pol. It is a phantom voice ! 
Didst thou not hear it then? 

Bal. I heard it not. 

Pol. Thou heardst it not! Baldazzar, 

speak no more 
To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts. 
Oh ! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death 
Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities 
Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet 

awhile ! 
We have been boys together — school-fellows — 
And now are friends — yet shall not be so long — 
For in the Eternal City thou shalt do me 
A kind and gentle office, and a Power — 
A Power august, benignant, and supreme — 
Shall then absolve thee of all further duties 
Unto thy friend. 

Bal. Thou speakest a fearful riddle 
I will not understand. 

Pol. Yet now as Fate 
Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low, 



144 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The sands of Time are changed to golden 

grains, 
And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas ! alas ! 
I cannot die, having within my heart 
So keen a relish for the beautiful 
As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air 
Is balmier now than it was wont to be — 
Rich melodies are floating in the winds — 
A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth — 
And with a holier lustre the quiet moon 
Sitteth in Heav^i. — Hist! hist! thou canst not 

say 
Thou hearest not 7iow, Baldazzar 1 
Bal. Indeed I hear not. 
Pol. Not hear it! — listen now — listen! — the 

faintest sound 
And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard ! 
A lady 's voice ! — and sorrow in the tone ! 
Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell ! 
Again ! — again ! — how solemnly it falls 
Into my heart of hearts ! that eloquent voice 
Surely I never heard — yet it were well 
Had I hut heard it with its thrilling tones 
In earlier days ! 

Bal. I myself hear it now. 
Be still ! — the voice, if I mistake not greatly, 
Proceeds from yonder lattice — ^which you may 

see 
Very plainly through the window — it belongs, 
Does it not "i unto this palace of the Duke. 
The singer is undoubtedly beneath 
The roof of his Excellency — and perhaps 
Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke 



SCENES FROM 'TOLITLAN'' 145 

As the betrothed of Castiglione, 
His son and heir. 

Pol. Be still ! — it comes again ! 
Voice (very faintly). "And is thy heart so 
strong 
As for to leave me thus, 
That have loved thee so long, 
In wealth and woe among ? 
And is thy heart so strong 
As for to leave me thus ? 

Say nay ! say nay ! ' '* 
Bat, The song is English, and I oft have 
heard it 
In merry England — never so plaintively — 
Hist ! hist ! it comes again ! 

Voice {more loudly). ''Is it so strong 
As for to leave me thus, 
That have loved thee so long, 
In wealth and woe among 1 
And is thy heart so strong 
As for to leave me thus 1 

Say nay ! say nay !'* 
Bal. 'Tis hushed and all is still ! 
Pol. All is not still. 
Bal. Let us go down. 
Pol. Go down, Baldazzar, go! 
Bal. The hour is growing late — the Duke 
awaits us, — 
Thy presence is expected in the hall 
Below. What ails thee. Earl Politian? 

Voice (distinctly) . "Who have loved thee so 
long, 

* By Sir Thomas Wyatt — Editor. 



146 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

In wealth and woe among, 
And is thy heart so strong? 

Say nay! say nay!'* 
Bal. Let us descend! — 'tis time. Politian, 
give 
These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray. 
Your bearing lately savoured much of rudeness 
Unto the Duke. Arouse thee ! and remember ! 
Pol. Remember? I do. Lead on! I do re- 
member (going.) 
Let us descend. Believe me I would give. 
Freely would give the broad lands of my earl- 
dom 
To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice — 
* * To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear 
Once more that silent tongue." 

Bal. Let me beg you, sir, 
Descend with me — the Duke may be offended. 
Let us go down, I pray you. 

Voice (loudly). Say nay! — say nay! 
Pol. (aside). 'Tis strange! — 'tis very strange 
— methought the voice 
Chimed in with my desires and bade me stay ! 
(Approaching the window.) 
Sweet voice ! I heed thee, and will surely stay. 
Now be this Fancy, by Heaven, or be it Fate, 
Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make 
Apology unto the Duke for me ; 
I go not down to-night. 

Bal. Your lordship's pleasure 
Shall be attended to. Good-night, Politian. 
Pol. Good-night, my friend, good-night. 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN" 147 
IV. 

The Gardens of a Palace — Moonlight Lalaqk and Politiah. 

Lalage. And dost thou speak of love 
To me, Politian ? — dost thou speak of love 
To Lalage ? — ah woe — ah woe is me ! 
This mockery is most cruel — most cruel indeed ! 
Politian. Weep not! oh, sob not thus! — thy 

bitter tears 
Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage — 
Be comforted ! I know — I know it all. 
And still I speak of love. Look at me, brightest, 
And beautiful Lalage! — ^tum here thine eyee! 
Thou askest me if I could speak of love. 
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have 

seen. 
Thou askest me that — and thus I answer thee — 
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. 

■{kneeling.) 
Sweet Lalage, I love thee — love thee — love thee; 
Thro' good and ill — thro' weal and woe, / love 

thee. 
Not mother, with her first-bom on her knee, 
Thrills with intenser love than I for thee. 
Not on God's altar, in any time or clime. 
Burned there a holier fire than bumeth now 
Within my spirit for thee. And do I love ? 

[{arising. ) 
Even for thy woes I love thee — even for thy 

woes, — 
Lai. Alas, proud Earl, 
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me ! 
How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens 



148 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Pure and reproachless, of thy princely line, 

Could the dishonoured Lalage abide ? 

Thy wife, and with a tainted memory — 

My seared and blighted name, how would it tally 

With the ancestral honours of thy house, 

And with thy glory? 

Fol. Speak not to me of glory ! 
I hate — I loathe the name ; I do abhor 
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing. 
Art thou not Lalage, and I Politian? 
Do I not love — art thou not beautiful — 
What need we more? Ha! glory! now speak 

not of it: 
By all I hold most sacred and most solemn — 
By all my wishes now — my fears hereafter — 
By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven — 
There is no deed I would more glory in, 
Than in thy cause to scoff at this same giorj^ 
And trample it under foot. What matterr lu — 
What matters it, my fairest, and my best 
That we go down unhonoured and forgotten 
Into the dust — so we descend together " 
Descend together — and then — and then per* 
chance — 

Lai, Why dost thou pause, Politian ? 

Fol. And then perchance 
Arise together, Lalage, and roam 
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest, 
And still — 

Lai. Why dost thou pause, Politian? 

Fol. And still together — together, 

Lai. Now, Earl of Leicester! 
Thou lovest me, and in my heart of hearts 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN*' 149 

I feel thou lovest me truly. 
Pol. Lalage! 

[throwing himself upon his knee.) 

And lovest thou me f 

Lai. Hist ! hush ! within the gloom 

Of yonder trees methought a figure passed — 

A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noise- 
less — 

Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and 
noiseless. 

{walks across and returns.) 

I was mistaken — 'twas but a giant bough 

Stirred by the autumn wind. Tolitian! 
Pol. My Lalage — my love! why art thou 
moved ? 

Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience' 
self. 

Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it, 

Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night 
wind 

Is chilly — and these melancholy boughs 

Throw over all things a gloom. 
Lai. Politian ! 

Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the 
land 

With which all tongues are busy — a land new 
found — 

Miraculously found by one of Genoa — 

A thousand leagues within the golden west ? 

A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sun- 
shine, — 

And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests, 



150 WORKS OF EDGAR Al>T^AN POE 

And mountains, around whose towering sum- 
mits the winds 
Of Heaven untrammelled flow — which air to 

breathe 
Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom here- 
after 
In days that are to come ? ' 

Pol. Oh, wilt thou — wilt thou 
Fly to that Paradise — my Lalage, wilt thou 
Fly thither with me? There Gare shaU. be for- 
gotten, 
And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all. 
And life shall then be mine, for I will live 
For thee, and in thine eyes — and thou shalt be 
No more a mourner — but the radiant Joys 
Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope 
Attend thee ever ; and I will kneel to thee 
And worship thee, and call thee my beloved, 
My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife. 
My all : — oh, wilt thou — ^wilt thou, Lalage, 
Fly thither with me? 

Lai. A deed is to be done — 
Gastiglione lives ! 
Pol And he shall die ! {Exit.) 

Lai. {after a pause). And — he — shall — 

die ! alas ! 

Gastiglione die? Who spoke the words? 
Where am I ? — what was it he said ? — Politian ! 
Thou art not gone — thou art not gone, Politian ! 
I feel thou art not gone — yet dare not look, 
Lest I behold thee not — thou couldst not go 
With those words upon thy lips — oh, speak to 
me! 



SCENES FROM '^POLITIAN*^ 151 

And let me hear thy voice — one word — one word, 
To say thou art not gone, — one little sentence, 
To say how thou dost scorn — how thou dost hate 
My womanly weakness. Ha ! ha ! thou art not 

gone — 
Oh, speak to me ! I knew thou wouldst not go ! 
I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, durst not 

go. 
Villain, thou art not gone — thou mockest me ! 
And thus I clutch thee — thus! He is gone, 

he is gone — 
Gone — gone. Where am I? 'tis well — 'tis 

very well! 
So that the blade be keen — ^the blow be sure, 
'Tis well, 'tis very well — alas ! alas ! 



The Suburbs. Politian alone. 

Politian. This weakness grows upon me. I 
am faint. 
And much I fear me ill — it will not do 
To die ere I have lived ! — Stay — stay thy hand, 
Azrael, yet awhile ! — Prince of the Powers 
Of Darkness and the Tomb, oh, pity me i 
Oh, pity me ! let me not perish now. 
In the budding of my Paradisal Hope ! 
Give me to live yet — yet a little while; 
'Tis I who pray for life — I who so late 
Demanded but to die! — What say est the Count t 



152 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 
Enter Baldazzar, 

Baldazzar. That, knowing no cause of quaiw 
rel or of feud 
Between the Earl Politian and himself, 
He doth decline your cartel. 

Pol. What didst thou say? 
What answer was it you brought me, good Bal- 
dazzar ? 
With what excessive fragrance the zephyr comes 
Laden from yonder bowers ! — a fairer day, 
Or one more worthy Italy, methinks 
No mortal eyes have seen! — what said the 
Count? 

Bal. That he, Castiglione, not being aware 
Of any feud existing, or any cause 
Of quarrel between your lordship and himself, 
Cannot accept the challenge. 

Pol. It is most true — 
All this is very true. When saw you, sir. 
When saw you now, Baldazzar, in the frigid 
Ungenial Britain which we left so lately, 
A heaven so calm as this — so utterly free 
From the evil taint of clouds ? — and he did sayf 

Bal. No more, my lord, than I have told you, 
sir; 
The Count Castiglione will not fight. 
Having no cause for quarrel. 

Pol. Now this is true — 
All very true. Thou art my friend, Baldazzar, 
And I have not forgotten it — thou 'It do me 
A piece of service ; wilt thou go back and say 
Unto this man, that I, the Earl of Leicester, 



SCENES FROM **POLITIAN'* 153 

Hold him a villain? — thus much, I pr'ythee, say 
Unto the Count — it is exceeding just 
He should have cause for quarrel. 

Bal. My lord ! — ^my friend ! 

PoL {aside). 'Tis he — he comes himself! 
(aloud.) Thou reasonest well. 
I know what thou wouldst say — not send the 

message — 
Well ! — I will think of it — I will not send it. 
Now pr'ythee, leave me — hither doth come a 

person 
With whom affairs of a most private nature 
I would adjust. 

Bal. I go — to-morrow we meet, 
Do we not ? — at the Vatican. 

Pol. At the Vatican. {Exit Bal.) 

Enter Castiglione. 

Cas. The Earl of Leicester here ! 
Pol. I am the Earl of Leicester, and thou 
seest. 
Dost thou not, that I am here? 
Cas. My lord, some strange, 
Some singular mistake — misunderstanding — 
Hath without doubt arisen: thou hast been 

urged 
Thereby, in heat of anger, to address 
Some words most unaccountable, in writing. 
To me, Castiglione; the bearer being 
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. I am aware 
Of nothing which might warrant thee in this 
thing, 
I. 13 



154 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

Having given thee no offense. Ha ! — am I right? 
Twas a mistake? — undoubtedly — ^we all 
Do err at times. 

Pol. Draw, villain, and prate no more ! 
Cas. Ha! — draw? — and villain? have at 
thee then at onee, 
Proud Earl! (draws.) 

Pol. {drawing.) Thus to the expiatorv tomb, 
Untimely sepulchre, I do devote the 
In the name of Lalage ! 

Cas. {letting fall his sword and recoiling to 
the extremity of the stage.) 
Of Lalage. 

Hold off ! — thy sacred hand ! — avaunt, I say I 
Avaunt — I will not fight thee — indeed I dare 
not. 
Pol. Thou wilt not fight with me didst say, 
Sir Count? 
Shall I be baffled thus ? — now this is well ; 
Didst say thou darest not ? Ha ! 

Cas. I dare not — dare not — 
Hold off thy hand — with that beloved name 
So fresh upon thy lips I will not fight thee — 
I cannot — dare not. 

Pol. Now, by my halidom, 
I do believe thee ! — coward, I do believe thee ! 
Cas. Ha ! — coward ! — this may not be ! 

(clutches his sword and staggers towards 
Politian, hut his purpose is changed be- 
fore reaching him, and he falls upon his 
hnee at the feet of the Earl.) 
Alas ! my lord. 
It is — it is — most true. In such a cause 



SCENES FROM ''POLITIAN*' 155 

I am the veriest coward. Oh, pity me ! 

Pol. (greatly softened), Alas! — I do — in- 

deed I pity thee. 

Cas. And Lalage 

Pol. Scoundrel! — arise and die! 

Cas. It needeth not be — thus — thus — Oh, let 

me die 
Thus on my bended knee. It were most fitting 
That in this deep humiliation I perish. 
For in the fight I will not raise a hand 
Against thee, Earl of Leicester. Strike thou 

home — (haring his hosom.) 

Here is no let or hindrance to thy weapon — 
Strike home. I will not fight thee. 

Pol. Now's Death and Hell! 
Am I not — am I not sorely — grievously tempted 
To take thee at thy word ? But mark me, sir : 
Think not to fly me thus. Do thou prepare 
For public insult in the streets — before 
The eyes of the citizens. I '11 follow thee — 
Like an avenging spirit I '11 follow thee 
Even unto death. Before those whom thou 

lovest — 
Before all Rome I'll taunt thee, villain, — I'll 

taunt thee, 
Dost hear? with cowardice — ^thou wilt not fight 

me? 
Thou liest! thou shalt! (Exit.) 

Cas. Now this indeed is just! 
Most righteous, and most just, avenging 

Heaven I 



POEMS "WRITTEN IN YOUTH* 

[For Introduction see page 53, present volume.] 



BONNET— TO SCIENCE 

[First published in edition of 1829.] 



Science ! true daughter of Old Time thou art ! 

Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes. 
Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart, 

Vulture, whose wings are dull realities 1 
How should he love thee ? or how deem thee wise, 

Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering 
To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies, 

_Ubeit he soared with an undaunted wing? 
Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car? 

And driven the Hamadryad from the wood 
To seek a shelter in some happier star ? 

Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood. 
The Elfin from the green grass, and from me 
The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree ? 

* Private reasons — some of which have reference to the sin 
of plagiarism, and others to the date of Tennyson's first poemst 
— have induced me, after some hesitation, to republish these, 
the crude compositions of my earliest boyhood. They are 
printed verbatim — without alteration from the original edition 
— the date of which is too remote to be judiciously acknowl- 
edged. — ^E. A. P. (1845). 

t This refers to the accusation brought against Edgar Foe 
that he was a coypist of Tennyson. — Editor. 
156 



AL AARAAF* 



(First published in edition of 1829. J 



PRELUDE t 

Mysterious star! 
Thou wert mj dream 
All a long summer night- 
Be now my theme ! 
By this clear stream. 
Of thee will I write; 
Meantime from afar 
Bathe me in light! 

Thy world has not the dross of ours. 
Yet all the beauty — all the flowers 
That list our love or deck our bowers 
In dreamy gardens, where do lie 
Dreamy maidens all the day; 
While the silver winds of Circassy 
On violet couches faint away. 
Little— oh! little dwells in thee 
Like unto what on earth we see : 

• A star was discovered by Tycho Brahe which appeared 
suddenly in the heavens — attained, in a few days, a brilliancy 
surpassing that of Jupiter — then as suddenly disappeared, and 
has never been seen since. 

t These twenty-nine lines were substituted for the sonnet 
"To Silence" (the introduction to " Al Aaraaf " in the edi- 
tion of 1829), but omitted in all subsequent collections, tke 
sonnet being restored to its former place. — Editor. 
151 



158 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Beauty's eye is here the bluest 
In the falsest and untruest — 
On the sweetest air doth float 
The most sad and solemn nota — 
If with thee be broken hearts, 
Joy so peacefully departs, 
That its echo still doth dwell. 
Like the murmur in the shelK 
Thou ! thy truest type of grief 
Is the gently falling leaf — 
Thou ! thy framing is so holy 
Sorrow is not melancholy. 

PART I. 

! NOTHING earthly save the ray 

[(Thrown back from flowers) of Beaiirty^s ejre^ 

As in those gardens where the day 

Springs from the germs of Circassy — 

! nothing eartkly save the thrill 

Of melody in woodland rill— 

Or (music of the passion-hearted) 

Joy*s voice so peacefully departed 

That like the murmur in the shell, 

It^ echo dwelleth and will dwell — 

! nothing of the dross of ours — 

Yet all the beauty — all the iiowers 

That list our Love, and deck our bowers — 

Adorn yon world afar, afar — 

The wandering star. 

^Twas a sweet time for Nesace — for there 
Her world lay lolling on the golden air, 
Near four bright suns — a temporary rest — 
An oasis in desert of the blest. 



AL AARAAF 159 

Away — away — 'mid seas of rays that roll 
Empyrean splendour o'er th' unchained soul — 
The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense) 
Can struggle to its destin'd eminence — 

To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode, 
And late to ours, the favor 'd one of God — 
But, now, the ruler of an anchor 'd realm, 
She throws aside the sceptre — leaves the helm, 
And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns, 
Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs. 

Now happiest, lovliest in yon lovely Earth, 
Whence sprang the ' ' Idea of Beauty ' ' into birth, 
(Falling in wreaths thro' many a startled star, 
Like woman's hair 'mid pearls, until, afar. 
It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt), 
She look'd into Infinity — and knelt. 
Rich clouds, for canopies, about her curled — 
Fit emblems of the model of her world — 
Seen but in beauty — not impeding sight — 
Of other beauty glittering thro' the light — 
A wreath that twined each starry from around, 
And all the opal'd air in colour bound. 

All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed 
Of flowers : of lilies such as rear 'd the head 
On the fair Capo Deucato,* and sprang 
So eagerly around about to hang 

Upon the flying footsteps deep pride — 

Of her who lov'd a mortal — and so died.f 

• Santa Maura — Ollm Deucadia, 
t Sappho. 



160 AVORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The Sephalica, budding with young bees, 
Up rear 'd its purple stem around her knees : 
And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam'd — * 
Inmate of highest stars, where erst it sham'd 
All other loveliness : its honied dew 
(The fabled nectar that the heathen knew) 
Deliriously sweet, was dropp 'd from Heaven, 
And fell on gardens of the unf orgiven 
In Trebizond — and on a sunny flower 
So like its own above that, to this hour, 
It still remaineth, torturing the bee 
With madness, and unwonted reverie : 
In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf 
And blossom of the fairy plant, in grief 
Disconsolate linger — grief that hangs her head, 
Repenting follies that full long have fled. 
Heaving her white breast to the balmy air, 
Like guilty beauty, chasten 'd, and more fair : 
Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light 
She fears to perfume, perfuming the night: 
And Clytiaf pondering between many a sun 
AATiile pettish tears adown her petals run : 
And that aspiring flower that sprang on 
Earth— $ 

•This flower is much noticed by Lewenhoeck and Tournefort. 
The bee, feeding upon its blossoms, becomes intoxicated. 

tCIytia — the Chrysanthemum Peruvianum, or, to employ a 
better-known term, the turnsol — which turns continually to- 
wards the sun, covers itself, like Peru, the country from which 
it comes, with dewy clouds which cool and refresh its flowers 
during the most violent heat of the day. — B. de St. Pierre. 

JThere is cultivated in the king's garden at Paris, a species 
of serpentine aloe without prickles, whose large and beautiful 
flower exhales a strong odour of the vanilla, during the time 
of its expansion, which is very short. It does not blow till 
towards the month of July — you then perceive it gradually 
open its petals — expand them — fade and die. — St. Pierre. 



AL AARAAF 161 

And died, ere scarce exalted into birth, 
Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing 
Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king : 
And Valisnerian lotus thither flown* 
From struggling with the waters of the Rhone ; 
And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante If 
Isola d 'oro ! — Fior di Levante ! 
And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever.J 
With Indian Cupid down the holy river — 
Fair flowers, and fairy ! to whose care is given 
To bear the Goddess' song, in odours up to 
Heaven :§ 

** Spirit! that dwellest where, 

In the deep sky, 
The terrible and fair. 

In beauty vie ! 
Beyond the line of blue — 

The boundary of the star 
Which turneth at the view 

Of thy barrier and thy bar — 
Of the barrier overgone 

By the comets who were east 
From their pride, and from their throne 

To be drudges till the last — 

♦ There is found, in the Rhone, a beautiful lily of the Valis- 
nerian kind. Its stem will stretch to the length of three or 
four feet — thus preserving its head above water in the swell- 
ings of the river. 

t The Hyacinth. 

t It is a fiction of the Indians, that Cupid was first seen 
floating in one of these down the river Ganges, and that be 
still loves the cradle of his childhood. 

§ And golden vials full of odours which are the prayers of 
the saints. — Revelation of St. John. 



1^ WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

To be carriers of fire 

(The red fire of their heart) 
With the speed that may not tire 

And with pain that shall not part — 
.Who livest — that we know — 

In Eternity — ^we feel — 
But the shadow of whose brow 

What spirit shall reveal ? 
Tho ' the beings whom thy Nesace, 

Thy messenger, hath Imown 
Have dream 'd for thy Infinity 

A model of their own — * 
Thy will is done, O God ! 

The star hath ridden high 
Thro' many a tempest, but she rode 

Beneath thy burning eye ; 
And here, in thought, to thee — 
In thought that can alone 

* The Huma.nitarians held that God was to be understood 

as having really a human form. — Vide Clarke's Sermons, vol. 
1, page 26, fol. edit. 

The drift of Milton's argument leads him to employ lan- 
guage which would appear, at first sight, to verge upon their 
doctrine ; but it will be seen immediately, that he guards him- 
self against the charge of having adopted one of the most 
ignorant errors of the dark ages of the Church. — Dr. Sum- 
ner's Notes on Milton's Christian Doctrine. 

This opinion, in spite of many testimonies to the contrary, 
could never have been very general. Andeus, a Syrian of 
Mesopotamia, was condemned for the opinion, as heretical. He 
lived in the beginning of the fourth century. His disciples 
were called Anthropomorphites. — Vide du Pin. 

Among Milton's minor poems are these lines : 

Dicite sacrorum praesides nemorum Deae, etc., 

Quis ille primus cujus ex imagine ■» 

Natura solers finxit humanum genus? 

Eternus, incorruptus, aequasvus polo, 

Unusque et universus exemplar Dei. — And afterwards, 

Non cui profundum Caecitas lumen dedit 

Dircseus augur vidit hunc alto sinu, etc. 



AL AARAAF 163 

Ascend thy empire and so be 

A partner of thy throne — 
By winged Fantasy,* 

My embassy is given, 
Till secrecy shall knowledge be 

In the environs of Heaven." 

She ceas 'd — and buried then her burning che^ 

Abash 'd, amid the lilies there, to seek 

A shelter from the fervour of His eye ; 

For the stars trembled at the Deity. 

She stirr'd not — breath 'd not — for a voice was 

there 
How solemnly pervading the calm air ! 
A sound of silence on the startled ear 
Which dreamy poets name "the music of the 

sphere. ' ' 
Ours is a world of words : Quiet we call 
''Silence" — which is the merest word of all. 
All Nature speaks, and ev 'n ideal things 
Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings 
But ah ! not so when, thus, in realms on high 
The eternal voice of God is passing by. 
And the red winds are withering in the sky ! 

''What tho' in worlds which sightless cycles 
run,t 
Link'd to a little system, and one sun — 
Where all my love is folly, and the crowd 

rf • Seltsemen Tochter Jovis 

Seinem Schosskinde 
Der Phantasie. — Goethe. 

t Sightless — too small to be seen — Legge, 



164 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud, 
The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean- 
wrath — 
(Ah! will they cross me in my angrier path?) 
What tho ' in worlds which own a single sun 
The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run, 
Yet thin is my resplendency, so given 
To bear my secrets thro ' the upper Heaven. 
Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly, 
With all thy train, athwart the moony sky — 
Apart — like fire-flies in Sicilian night,* 
And wing to other worlds another light ! 
Divulge the secrets of thy embassy 
To the proud orbs that twinkle — and so be 
To ev'ry heart a barrier and a ban 
Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man ! ' ' 

Up rose the maiden in the yellow night. 
The single-mooned eve ! — on Earth we plight 
Our faith to one love — and one moon adore — 
The birth-place of young Beauty had no more. 
As sprang that yellow star from downy hours, 
Up ra%e the maiden from her shrine of flowers. 
And bent o'er sheeny mountain and dim plain 
Her way — ^but left not yet her Therascean 
reign.t 

• I have often noticed a peculiar movement of the fire-ties ; 
— they will collect In a body and fly off, from a common 
centre, into innumerable radii. 

t Therasffia. or Therasea, the island mentioned by Seneca, 
which, in a moment, arose from the sea to the eyes of aston- 
ished mariners. 



AL AARAAF 165 

PART n. 

High on a mountain of enamell 'd head — 

Such as the drowsy shepherd on his bed 

Of giant pasturage lying at his ease, 

Raising his heavy eyelid, starts and sees 

With many a mutter 'd ''hope to be forgiven'' 

What time the moon is quadrated in Heaven— 

Of rosy head, that towering far away 

Into the sunlit ether, caught the ray 

Of sunken suns at eve — at noon of night. 

While the moon danc'd with the fair stranger 

light— 
Uprear'd upon such height arose a pile 
Of gorgeous columns on th' unburthen'd air, 
Flashing from Parian marble that twin smile 
Far down upon the wave that sparkled there, 
And nursled the young mountain in its lair. 
Of molten stars their pavement, such as fall* 
Thro' the ebon air, besilvering the pall 
Of their own dissolution, while they die — 
Adorning then the dwellings of the sky. 
A dome, by linked light from Heaven let down, 
Sat gently on these columns as a crown — 
A window of one circular diamond, there, 
Look'd out above into the purple air. 
And rays from God shot down that meteor 

chain 
And hallow 'd all the beauty twice again. 
Save when, between th' Empyrean and that ring, 
Some eager spirit flapp 'd his dusky wing. 

• Some star which, from the ruin'd roof 
Of shak'd Olympus, by mischance did fall. — Milton, 



166 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

But on the pillars Seraph eyes have seen 
The dimness of this world : that greyish green 
That Nature loves the best for Beauty's grave 
Lurk'd in each cornice, round each architrave— 
And every sculp tur'd cherub thereabout 
That from his marble dwelling peered out, 
Seem'd earthly in the shadow of his niche — 
Achaian statues in a world so rich? 
Frieaes from Tadmor and Persepolis — * 
From Balbec, and the stilly, clear abyse 
Of beautiful Gomorrah ! Oh, the wavef 
Is now upon thee — but too late to save ! 

Sound loves to revel in a summer night : 
Witness the murmur of the grey twilight 
That stole upon the ear, in Eyraeo,J 
Of many a wild star-gazer long ago — 
That stealeth ever on the ear of him 
Who, musing, gazeth on the distance dim, 

* Voltaire, in speaking of Persepolis, says, " Je connois bien 
I'admlration qu'inspirent ces mines — mais un palais erige au 
pied d'une chalne, de rocbers steriles — peut-il etre un chef 
d'cBUvre des arts ! " 

t " Oh, the wave " — Ula Deguisi is the Turkish appellation ; 
but, on its own shores, it is called Bahar Loth, or Almotanah. 
There were undoubtedly more than two cities engulfed in the 
" dead sea." In the valley of Siddim were five — Adrah, Zeboln, 
Zoar, Sodom and Gomorrah. Stephen of Byzantium mentions 
eight, and Strabo thirteen (engulphed) — but the last is out 
of all reason. 

It is said [Tacitus, Strabo, Josephus, Daniel of St. Saba, 
Nau, Maundrell, Troilo D'Arvieux], that after an excessive 
drought, the vestiges of columns, walls, etc., are seen above 
the surface. At any season, such remains may be discovered 
by looking down into the transparent lake, and at such dis- 
tances as would argue the existence of many settlements in 
the space now usurped by the " Asphaltites," 

t Eyraco — Chaldea. 



AL AARAAF 167 

And sees the darkness coming as a cloud — 
Is not its form — its voice — most palpable and 
loud?* 

But what is this ? — it cometh — and it brings 
A music with it — 'tis the rush of wings — 
A pause — and then a sweeping, falling strain, 
And Nesace is in her halls again. 
From the wild energy of wanton haste 

Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart; 
The zone that clung around her gentle waist 

Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart. 
Within the centre of that hall to breathe 
She pans 'd and panted, Zanthe ! all beneath, 
The fairy light that kiss 'd her golden hair 
And long'd to rest, yet could but sparkle there! 

Young flowers were whispering in melodyf 
To happy flowers that night — and tree to tree ; 
Fountains were gushing music as they fell 
In many a star-lit grove, or moon-light dell ; 
Yet silence came upon material things — 
Fair flowers, bright waterfalls and angel wings — 
And sound alone that from the spirit sprang 
Bore burthen to the charm the maiden sang : 

*' Neath blue-bell or streamer — 

Or tufted wild spray 
That keeps, from the dreamer, 

* I have often thought I could distinctly hear the sound of 
the darkness as it stole over the horizon. 

t Fairies use flowers for their charactery. — Merry Wives of 
Windsor. 



168 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

The moonbeam away — * 
Bright beings! that ponder, 

With half-closing eyes, 
On the stars which your wonder 

Hath drawn from the skies, 
Tfll they glance thro' the shade, and 

Come down to your brow 
Like — eyes of the maiden 

Who calls on you now — 
Arise ! from your dreaming 

In violet bowers, 
To duty beseeming 

These star-litten hours — 
And shake from your tresses 

Encumber 'd with dew 
The breath of those kisses 

That cumber them too — 
(0 ! how, without you, Love ! 

Could angels be blest?) 
Those kisses of true love 

Thatlull'dye torest! 
Up! shake from your wing 
Each hindering thing: 
The dew of the night — 
It would weigh down your flight; 
And true love caresses — 

! leave them apart 1 
They are light on the tresses, 

But lead on the heart. 

• In Scripture is this passage — " The sun shall not harm 
thee by day, nor the moon by night." It is, perhaps, not gen- 
erally known that the moon, in Egypt, has the effect of pro- 
ducing blindness to those who sleep with the face exposed to 
its rays, to which circumstance the passage evidently alludes. 



AL AARAAP 169 

Ligeia ! Ligeia ! 

My beautiful one ! 
Whose harshest idea 

Will to melody run, 
O ! is it thy will 

On the breezes to toss ? 
Or, capriciously still, 

Like the lone Albatross,* 
Incumbent on night 

(As she on the air) 
To keep watch with delight 

On the harmony there ? 

Ligeia! wherever 

Thy image may be, ^ 

No magic shall sever 

Thy music from thee. 
Thou hast bound many eyes 

In a dreamy sleep — 
But the strains still arise 

Wliich thy vigilance keep — 
The sound of the rain 

Which leaps down to the flower, 
And dances again 

In the rhythm of the shower — 
The murmur that springsf 

From the growing of grass 
Are the music of things — 

• The Albatross is said to sleep on the wing. 

t I met with this idea in an old English tale, which I am 
now unable to obtain, and quote from memory : — " The verle 
essence and, as it were, springe hoade and origine of all 
musiche is the verie pleasaunte sounde which the trees of th« 
forest do make when they growe." 

L 14 



170 WORKS OP EDGAR ALLAN POB 

But are modell 'd, alas ! — 
Away, then, my dearest, 

! hie thee away 
To springs that lie clearest 

Beneath the moon-ray — 
To lone lake that smiles, 

In its dream of deep rest, 
At the many star-isles 

That en jewel its breast — 
Where wild flowers, creeping, 

Have mingled their shade. 
On its margin is sleeping 

Full many a maid — 
Some have left the cool glade, and 

Have slept with the bee — * 
Arouse them, my maiden, 

On moorland and lea — 
Go ! breathe on their slumber 

All softly in ear. 
The musical number 

They slumbered to hear — 
For what can awaken 

An angel so soon 
Whose sleep hath been taken 

Beneath the cold moon. 
As the spell which no slumber 

• The wild bee will not sleep in the shade if there be moon- 
light. 

The rhyme in this verse, as in one about sixty lines before, 
has an appearance of affectation. It is, however, imit:i{"!»d 
from Sir W. Scott, or rather from Claud Halcro— in wiics* 
mouth 1 admired its effect : 

O ! were there an island, 

Tho' ever so wild, 
Where woman might smile, and 
No man be beguil'd, etc. 



AL AARAAF 171 

Of witchery may test, 
The rhythmical number 
Which luird him to rest?*' 

Spirits in wing, and angels to the view, 

A thousand seraphs burst th* Empyrean thro', 

Young dreams still hovering on their drowsjr 

flight- 
Seraphs in all but '* Knowledge, ' ^ the keen light 
That fell, refracted, thro' thy bounds afar, 
O Death ! from eye of God upon that star : 
Sweet was that error — sweeter still that death — 
Sweet was that error — ev'n with us the breath 
Of Science dims the mirror of our joy — 
To them 'twere the Simoom, and would de- 
stroy — 
For what (to them) availeth it to know 
That Truth is Falsehood — or that Bliss is "Woe? 
Sweet was their death — with them to die was 

rife 
With the last ecstasy of satiate life — 
Beyond that death no immortality — 
But sleep that pondereth and is not '*to be" — 
And there — oh ! may my weary spirit dwell — 
Apart from Heaven 's Eternity — and yet how far 
from Hell !* 

• With the Arabians there is a medium between Heaven and 
Hell, where men suffer no punishment, but yet do not attain 
that tranquil and even happiness which they suppose to be 
characteristic of heavenly enjoyment. 

Un no rompido sueSo — 

Un dia puro — allegre — libre 

Quiera — 

Libre de amor — de zelo — 

De odlo — de esperanza — de rerelo. — Luis Ponce de Leon. 

Sorrow is not excluded from " Al Aaraaf/' but it is t>Mtt 



in WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

"What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim, 
Heard not the stirring summons of that hymnt 
But two : they fell : for Heaven no grace imparts 
To those who hear not for their beating hearts. 
A maiden-angel and her seraph-lover — 
! where (and ye may seek the wide skies over) 
Was Love, the blind, near sober Duty known ? 
Unguided Love hath fallen — 'mid ** tears of per- 
fect moan.f 

He was a goodly spirit — he who fell : 
A wanderer by moss-ymantled well — 
A gazer on the lights that shine above — 
A dreamer in the moonbeam by his love : 
What wonder? for each star is eye-like there, 
And looks so sweetly down on Beauty's hair — 
And they, and ev'ry mossy spring were holy 
To his love-haunted heart and melancholy. 
The night had found (to him a night of wo) 
Upon a mountain crag, young Angelo — 
Beetling it bends athwart the solemn sky. 
And scowls on starry worlds that down beneath 

it lie. 
Here sate he with his love — his dark eye bent 
With eagle gaze along the firmament: 
Now turn 'd it upon her — but ever then 
It trembled to the orb of Earth again. 

sorrovr which the living love to cherish for the dead, and 
which, in some minds, resembles the delirium of opium. The 
passionate excitement of Love and the buoyancy of spirit at- 
tendant upon intoxication are its less holy pleasures — the 
price of which, to those souls who make choice of " Al Aaraaf," 
as their residence after life, is final death and annihilation. 

t There be* tears of perfect moan 
Wept for thee in Helicon. — Milton. 



AL AARAAF 173 

* * lanthe, dearest, see ! how dim that ray ! 

How lovely 'tis to look so far away ! 

She seemed not thus upon that autumn eve 

I left her gorgeous halls — ^nor mourned to leave. 

That eve — that eve — I should remember well — 

The sun-ray dropped, in Lemnos with a spell 

On th' Arabesque carving of a gilded hall 

Wherein I sate, and on the draperied wall — 

And on my eye-lids — 0, the heavy light ! 

How drowsily it weighed them into night! 

On flowers, before, and mist, and love they ran 

With Persian Saadi in his Gulistan : 

But 0, that light! — I slumbered — Death, the 

while. 
Stole o 'er my senses in that lovely isle 
So softly that no single silken hair 
Awoke that slept — or Imew that he was there. 

''The last spot of Earth's orb I trod upon 
Was a proud temple called the Parthenon ;* 
More beauty clung around her columned wall 
Than even thy glowing bosom beats withal.f 
And when old Time my wing did disenthral 
Thence sprang I — as the eagle from his tower. 
And years I left behind me in an hour. 
What time upon her airy bounds I hung, 
One half the garden of her globe was flung 
Unrolling as a chart unto my view — 
Tenantless cities of the desert too ! 
lanthe, beauty crowded on me then. 

• It was entire in 1687 — the most elevated spot In Athena, 
t Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows 
Than have the white breasts of the queen of love. — Marlowe. 



174 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

And half I wished to be again of men. ' ' 
**My Angelo! and why of them to be? 
A brighter dwelling-place is here for thee — 
And greener fields than in yon world above, 
And woman's loveliness — and passionate love. 



»» 



'*But list, Ian the ! when the air so soft 
Failed, as my pennoned spirit leapt aloft.i 
Perhaps my brain grew dizzy — but the world 
I left so late was into chaos hurled. 
Sprang from her station, on the winds apart. 
And rolled a flame, the fiery Heaven athwart. 
Methought, my sweet one, then I ceased to soar, 
And fell — not swiftly as I rose before, 
But with a downward, tremulous motion thro' 
Light, brazen rays, this golden star unto ! 
Nor long the measure of my falling hours. 
For nearest of all stars was thine to ours — 
Dread star ! that came, amid a night of mirth, 
A ^^ed Dffidalion on the timid Earth. ' ' 

**We came — and to thy Earth — ^but not to us 
Be given our lady's bidding to discuss : 
We came, my love ; around, above, below, 
Gay fire-fly of the night we come and go. 
Nor ask a reason save the angel-nod 
She grants to us as granted by her God — 
But, Angelo, than thine grey Time unfurled 
Never his fairy wing o'er fairer world! 
Dim was its little disk, and angel eyes 
Alone could see the phantom in the skies. 
When first Al Aaraaf knew her course to be 

% Pennon, for pinion. — Milton. 



AL AARAAF 175 

Headlong tliitherward o 'er the starry sea — 

But when its glory swelled upon the sky, 

As glowing Beauty's burst beneath man's eye, 

We paused before the heritage of men, 

And thy star trembled — as doth Beauty then ! ' ' 

Thus in discourse, the lovers whiled away 

The night that waned and waned and brought 

no day 
They fell : for Heaven to them no hope imparts 
Who hear not for the beating of their hearts. 



TAMERLANE 



[Published in editions of 1827, 1829 and 1831. with 
notes and various lines which were omitted in the pres- 
ent text (edition of 1845).] 



Kind solace in a dying hour ! 

Such, father, is not (now) my theme — 
I will not madly deem that power 

Of Earth may strive me of the sin 
Unearthly pride hath revelled in — 

I have no time to dote or dream : 
You call it hope — that fire of fire ! 
It is but agony of desire: 
If I can hope — God ! I can — 

Its fount is holier — more divine — 
I would not call thee fool, old man, 

But such is not a gift of thine. 

Know thou the secret of a spirit 

Bowed from its wild pride into shame. 
yearning heart ! I did inherit 

Thy withering portion with the fame, 
The searing glory which hath shone 
Amid the Jewels of my throne, 
Halo of Hell I and with a pain 
Not Hell shall make me fear again — • 

176 



TAMERLANE 177 

craving heart, for the lost flowers 
And sunshine of my summer hours ! 
The undying voice of that dead time, 
"With its interminable chime, 

Rings, in the spirit of a spell, 
Upon thy emptiness — a knell. 

1 have not always been as now : 
The fevered diadem on my brow 

I claimed and won usurpingly — 
Hath not the same fierce heirdom given 
Rome to the Caesar — this to me? 
The heritage of a kingly mind, 
And a proud spirit which hath striven 
Triumphantly with human kind. 

On mountain soil I first drew life : 
The mists of the Taglay have shed 
Nightly their dews upon my head, 

And I believe, the winged strife 

And tumult of the headlong air 

Have nestled in my very hair. 

So late from Heaven — that dew — it fell 

( ^Mid dreams of an unholy night) 
Upon me with the touch of Hell, 

While the red flashing of the light 
From clouds that hung, like banners, o^er^ 

Appeared to my half -closing eye 

The pageantry of monarchy; 
And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar 

Came hurriedly upon me, telling 
Of human battle, where my voice, 



178 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

My own voice, silly child ! — ^was swelling 
(0 ! how my spirit would rejoice, 
And leap within me at the cry) 
The battle-cry of Victory ! 

The rain came down upon my head 
Unsheltered — and the heav>^ wind 
Rendered me mad and deaf and blind. 

It was but man, I thought, who shed 
Laurels upon me : and the rush — 

The torrent of the chilly air 

Gurgled within my ear the crush 

Of empires — with the captive's prayer— 

The hum of suitors — and the tone 

Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne. 

My passions, from that hapless hour, 

Usurped a tyranny which men 
Have deemed since I have reached to power, 
My innate nature — be it so : 

But, father, there lived one who, then, 
Then — in my boyhood — when their fire 
Burned with a still intenser glow 
(For passion must, with youth, expire) 

E 'en then who knew this iron heart 

In woman's weakness had a part 

I have no words — alas ! — to tell 
The loveliness of loving well ! 
Nor would I now attempt to trace 
The more than beauty of a face 
Whose lineaments, upon my mind, 
Are shadows on th' unstable wind: 



TAMERLANE 179 

Thuis I remember having dwelt 

Some page of early lore upon, 
"With loitering eye, till I have felt 
The letters — with their meaning — melt 

To fantasies — with none. 

O, she was worthy of all love I 

Love as in infancy was mine — 
'Twas such as angel minds above 

Might envy ; her young heart the shrine 
On which my every hope and thought 

Were incense — then a goodly gift, 

For they were childish and upright- 
Pure — as her young example taught: 

Why did I leave it, and, adrift, 
T^ust to the fire within^ for light ? 

We grew in age — and love — together — 

Roaming the forest, and the wild ; 
My breast her shield in wintry weather — 

And, when the friendly sunshine smiled. 
And she would mark the opening skies, 
1 saw no Heaven — but in her eyes. 
Young Love 's first lesson is the heart : 

For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles. 
When, from our little cares apart. 

And laughing at her girlish wiles, 
I'd throw me on her throbbing breast, 

And pour my spirit out in tears — 
There was no need to speak the rest — 

No need to quiet any fears 
Of her — who asked no reason why, 
But turned on me her quiet eye ! 



180 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

Yet more than worthy of the love 
My spirit struggled with, and strove, 
When, on the mountain peak, alone, 
Ambition lent it a new tone — 
I had no being — but in thee : 

The world, and all it did contain 
In the earth — the air — the sea — 

Its joy — its little lot of pain 
That was new pleasure — the ideal, 

Dim, vanities of dreams by night — 
And dimmer nothings which were real — 

(Shadows — and a more shadowy light!) 
Parted upon their misty wings. 
And, so, confusedly, became 
Thine image and — a name — a name ! 
Two separate — yet most intimate things. 

I was ambitious — have you know 

The passion, father ? You have not: 
A cottager, I marked a throne 
Of half the world as all my own, 

And murmured at such lowly lot — 
But, just like any other dream. 

Upon the vapour of the dew 
My own had past, did not the beam 

Of beauty which did while it thro' 
The jninute — the hour — the day — oppress 
My mind with double loveliness. 

We walked together on the crown 
Of a high mountain which looked dovni 
Afar from its proud natural towers 
Of rock and forest, on the hills — 



TAMERLANE 181 

The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers 
And shouting with a thousand rills. 

I spoke to her of power and pride, 

But mystically — in such guise 
That she might deem it nought beside 

The moment 's converse ; in her eyes 
I read, perhaps too carelessly — 

A mingled feeling with my own — 
The flush on her bright cheek, to me 

Seemed to become a queenly throne 
Too well that I should let it be 

Light in the wilderness alone. 

I wrapped myself in grandeur then, 
And donned a visionary crown — 
Yet is was not that Fantasy 
Had thrown her mantle over me — 

But that, among the rabble — men, 
Lion ambition is chained down — 

And crouches to a keeper's hand — 

Not so in deserts where the grand — 

The wild — the terrible conspire 

With their own breath to fan his fire. 

Look 'round thee now on Samarcand ! — 
Is she not queen of Earth ? her pride 

Above all cities 1 in her hand 
Their destinies? in all beside 

Of glory which the world hath known 

Stands she not nobly and alone 1 

Falling — her veriest stepping-stone 

Shall form the pedestal of a throne — 



182 WOUKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POBi 

And wbo her sovereign? Timour — ^he 
Whom the astonished people saw 

Striding o'er empires haughtily 
A diademed outlaw ! 

0, human love ! thou spirit given, 
On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven ! 
\Vhich fall'st into the soul like rain 
Upon the Siroc-withered plain, 
Ajid, failing in thy power to bless, 
But leav'st the heart a wilderness! 
Idea ! which bindest life around 
With music of so strange a sound 
And beauty of so wild a birth — 
Farewell ! for I have won the Earth. 

When Hope, the eagle that towered, could «ee 

No cliff beyond him in the sky, 
His pinions were bent droopingly — 

And homeward turned his softened eye. 
'Twas sunset : when the sun will part 
There comes a sullenness of heart 
To him who still would look upon 
The glory of the summer sun. 
That soul will hate the ev'ning mist 
So often lovely, and will list 
To the sound of the coming darkness (known 
To those whose spirits hearken) as one 
Who, in a dream of night, would fly. 
But cannot, from a danger nigh. 

What tho' the moon — tho' the white moon 
Shed all the splendour of her noon. 



TAMERLANE 188 

Eer smile is chilly — and her beam, 
In that time of dreariness, will seem 
;(So like you gather in your breath) 
A portrait taken after death. 

And boyhood is a summer sun 
Whose waning is the dreariest one — 
For all we live to know is known, 
And all we seek to keep hath flown — 
Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall 
With the noon-day beauty — which is alL 

I reached my home — my home no more — • 

For all had flown who made it so. 
I passed from out its mossy door. 

And, tho^ my tread was soft and low, 
A voice came from the threshold stone 
Of one whom I had earlier known — ■ 

0, I defy thee, Hell, to show 

On beds of fire that burn below, 

An humbler heart — a deeper wo. 

Father, I firmly do believe — 

I know — for Death who comes for me 
From regions of the blest afar, 

Where there is nothing to deceive, 
Hath left his iron gate ajar, 
And rays of truth you cannot see 
Are flashing thro ' Eternity 

I do believe that Eblis hath 

A snare in every human path — 

Else how, when in the holy grove 

I wandered of the idol, Love, — 



184 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POB 

Who daily scents his snowy wings 
With incense of burnt-offerings 
From the most unpolluted things, 
Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven 
Above the trellised rays from Heaven 
No mote may shun — no tiniest fly — 
The light 'ning of his eagle eye — 
How was it that Ambition crept, 

Unseen, amid the revels there. 
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt 

In the tangles of Love's very hair? 



TO HELEN 



[First published in the edition of 1831.] 



Helen, thy beauty is to me 

Like those Nicean barks of yore, 

That gently, o'er a perfumed sea, 
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore 
To his own native shore. 

On desperate seas long wont to roam, 
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face, 

Thy Naiad airs have brought me home 
To the glory that was Greece, 

And the grandeur that was Rome. 

Lo ! in yon brilliant window niche, 
How statue-like I see thee stand, 
The agate lamp within thy hand ! 

Ah, Psyche, from the regions which 
Are Holy Land! 

• Mrs. Stanard. 



I. 15 185 



THE VALLEY OF UNREST 



Once it smiled a silent dell 
Where the people did not dwell; 
They had gone unto the wars, 
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars 
Nightly, from their azure towers, 
To keep watch above the flowers, 
In the midst of which all day 
The red sun-light lazily lay. 
Now each visitor shall confess 
The sad valley's restlessness. 
Nothing there is motionless — 
Nothing save the au^s that brood 
Over the magic solitude. 
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees 
That palpitate like the chill seas 
Around the misty Hebrides ! 
Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven 
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven 
Unceasingly, from morn till even, 
Over the violets there that lie 
In myriad types of the human eye- 
Over the lilies there that wave 
And weep above a nameless grave ! 
They wave : — from out their fragrant tops 
Eternal dews come down in drops. 
TPiey weep : — from off their delicate stems 
Perennial tears descend in gems. 

* The present version (editioa of 1845) differs widely from 
the original poem, which app-eared in the edition of 1831, 
under title of " The Valley Nis." 
186 



ISRAFEL* 



[First published in the edition of 1831,J 



In Heaven a spirit doth dwell 

'* Whose heart-strings are a lute;'* 

None sing so wildly well 

As the angel Israf el, 

And the giddy Stars (so legends tell), 

Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell 
Of his voice, all mute. 

Tottering above 

In her highest noon, 

The enamoured Moon 
Blushes with love, 

While, to listen, the red levin 

(With the rapid Pleiads, even, 

Which were seven), 

Pauses in Heaven. 

And they say (the starry choir 
And other listening things) 

• And the angel Israfel [whose heart-strings are a lute and]t 
iffho has the sweetest voice of all God's creatures. — Koran. 

t The words in brackets were not in Poe's original note, but 
are his own interpolation later. — Editor. 

187 



188 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

That Israfeli's fire 

Is owing to that lyre 

By which he sits and sings— 
The trembling living wire 
Of those unusual strings. 

But the skies that angel trod, 
Where deep thoughts are a duty — 

Where Love's a grown-up God — 
Where the Houri glances are 

Imbued with all the beauty 
"V\rhich we worship in a star. 

Therefore, thou are not wrong, 

Israfeli, who despisest 
An unimpassioned song ; 
To thee the laurels belong, 

Best bard, because the wisest ! 
Merrily live and long ! 

The ecstacies above 

With thy burning measures suit — 
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love, 

With the fervour of thy lute — 
Well may the stars be mute! 

Yes, Heaven is thine ; but this 
Is a world of sweets and sours ; 
Our flowers are merely — flowers, 

And the shadow of thy perfect bliss 
Is the sunshine of ours. 



ISRAFEL 189 

If I could dwell 
Where Israfel 

Hath dwelt, and he where I, 
He might not sing so wildly well 

A mortal melody, 
While a bolder note than this might swell 

From my lyre within the sky. 



TO 



I HEED not that my earthly lot 

Hath little of Earth in it, 
That years of love have been forgot 

In the hatred of a minute : — 
I mourn not that the desolate 

Are happier, sweet, than I, 
But that you sorrow for w.y fate 

Who am a passer-by. 

• The final form of a poem of five quatrains, which ap- 
peared in the edition of 1829, under title, " To M — ," and io 
MS. under title of " Alone." — Editoe. 



TO 



[First published in the edition of 1829.J 



The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see 

The wantonest singing birds, 
Are lips — and all thy melody 

Of lip-begotten words — 

Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined 

Then desolately fall, 
God ! on my funereal mind 

Like starlight on a pall — 

Thy heart — thy heart ! — I wake and sigK, 

And sleep to dream till day 
Of trnth that gold can never buy — 

Of the baubles that it may. 



vm 



TO THE RIVER 



[First published in the edition of 1829.] 



Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow 

Of crystal, wandering water, 
Thou art an emblem of the glow 

Of beauty — the unhidden heart- 
The playful maziness of art 
In old Alberto's daughter; 

But when within thy wave she looks — 

Which glistens then, and trembles — 
Why, then, the prettiest of brooks 

Her worshipper resembles; 
For in his heart, as in thy stream, 

Her image deeply lies — 
His heart which trembles at the beam 

Of her soul-searching eyes. 



192 



«I SAW THEE ON THY BRIDAL 
DAY" 



[First published in the edition of 1827.] 



I SAW thee on thy bridal day — 

When a burning blush came o 'er thee, 

Though happiness around thee lay, 
The world all love before thee: 

And in thine eye a kindling light 

(Whatever it might be) 
Was all on Earth my aching sight 

Of Loveliness could see. 

That blush, perhaps, with maiden shame — 

As such it well may pass — 
Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame 

In the breast of him, alas ! 

Who saw thee on that bridal day, 

When that deep blush waiild come o 'er tii«e, 
Though happiness around thee lay, 

The world all love before thee. 



193 



SPIEITS OF THE DEAD 



[First published in the edition of 1827 under title of 
Visit of the Dead."] 



Thy soul shall find itself alone 

'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tomb-stone—* 

Not one, of all the crowd, to pry 

Into thine hour of secrecy. 

Be silent in that solitude 

Which is not loneliness — for then 

The spirits of the dead who stood 
In life before thee are again 

In death around thee — and their will 

Shall overshadow thee : be still. 

The night — ^tho' clear — shall frown— 
And the stars shaU not look down 
From their high thrones in the Heaven, 
With light like Hope to mortals given^ 
But their red orbs, without beam, 
To thy weariness shall seem 
As a burning and a fever 
Which would cling to thee for ever. 

194 



SPIRITS OF THE DEAD 195 

Now ai-e thoughts thou shalt not banisk — 
Now are visions ne'er to vanish — 
From thy spirit shall they pass 
No more — like dew-drops from the grass. 

The breeze— the breath of God— is still— 
And the mist upon the hill 
Shadowy — shadow;^^ — yet unbroken, 
Is a symbol and a token — 
How it hangs upon the trees, 
A mystery of mysteries ! 



A DREAM 



[First published in the edition of 1827, without title.] 



In visions of the dark night 

I have dreamed of joy departed — 

But a waking dream of life and light 
Hath left me broken-hearted. 

Ah ! what is not a dream by day 

To him whose eyes are cast 
On things aronnd him with a ray 

Turned back upon the past 1 

That holy dream — that holy dream, 
While all the world were chiding. 

Hath cheered me as a lovely beam, 
A lonely spirit guiding. 

What though that light, thro ' storm and night 

So trembled from afar — 
What could there be more purely bright 

In Truth's day-star? 



196 



ROMANCE* 



KoMANCE, who loves to nod and sing, 
With drowsy head and folded wing, 
Among the green leaves as they shake 
Far down within some shadowy lake, 
To me a painted paroquet 
Hath been — a most familiar bird — 
Taught me my alphabet to say — 
To lisp my very earliest word 
While in the wild wood I did lie, 
A child — ^with a most knowing eye. 

Of late, eternal Condor years 
So shake the very Heaven on high 
With tumult as they thunder by, 
I have no time for idle cares 
Though gazing on the unquiet sky. 
And when an hour with calmer wings 
Its down upon my spirit flings — 
That little time with lyre and rhyme 
To while away — forbidden things ! 
My heart would feel to be a crime 
Unless it trembled with the strings. 

* This poem constituted the introduction of the 1831 vol* 
ume, with the addition of the following forty-five lines : 
xse- 



198 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN TOE 



Succeeding years, too wild for song. 
Then rolled like tropic storms along, 
Where, through the garish lights that fly 
Dying along the troubled sky. 
Lay bare, through vistas thunder-riven. 
The blackness of the general Heaven, 
That very blackness yet doth fling 
Light on the lightning's silver wing. 

For being an idle boy lang syne. 

Who read Anacreon and drank wine, 

I early found Anacreon rhymes 

Were almost passionate sometimes — 

And by strange alchemy of brain 

His pleasures always turned to pain — 

His naivete to wild desire — 

His wit to love — his wine to fire — 

And so, being young and dipt in folly, 

I fell in love with melancholy. 

And used to throw my earthly rest 

And quiet all away in jest — 

I could not love except where Death 

Was mingling his with Beauty's breatb-"^ 

Or Hymen, Time, and Destiny, 

Were stalking between her and me. 

But now my soul hath too much room""" 
Gone are the glory and the gloom — 
The black hath mellow'd into grey, 
And all the fires are fading av/ay. 

My draught of passion hath been deep-"- 
I revell'd, and I now would sleep — 
And after drunkenness of soul 
Succeeds the glories of the bowl — 
An idle longing night and day 
To dream my very life away. 

But dreams — of those who dream as I, 
Aspiringly, are damned, and die : 
Yet should I swear I mean alone. 
By notes so very shrilly blown. 
To break upon Time's monotone. 
While yet my vapid joy and grief 
Are tintless of the yellow leaf — 
Why not an imp the greybeard hath, 
Will shake his shadow in my path — • 
And e'en the greybeard will o'erlook 
Connivingly my dreaming-book. 



FAIRYLAND 



[First published in the edition of 1829. "Hie versioJ^ 
' 1831 differs widely from the present (1845).] 



Dim vales — ^and shadowy floods — 
And cloudy-looking woods, 
Whose forms we can't discover 
Fov the tears that drip all over 
Huge moons there wax and wane- 
Again — again— again — 
Every moment of the night — 
For ever changing places — 
And they put out the star-light 
With the breath from their pale faces. 
About twelve by the moon-dial 
One more filmy than the rest 
(A kind which, upon trial. 
They have found to be the best) 
Comes down — still down — and down 
With its centre on the crown 
Of a mountain's eminence, 
While its wide circumference 
In easy drapery fails 
Over hamlets, over halls, 
Wherever they may be— 



200 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

'er the strange woods — o 'er the sea- 
Over spirits on the wing — 
Over every drowsy thing — 
And buries them up quite 
In a labyrinth of light — 
And then, how deep ! — 0, deep ! 
Is the passion of their sleep. 
In the morning they arise, 
And their moony covering 
Is soaring in the skies, 
"With the tempests as they toss, 

Like almost any thing — 

Or a yellow Albatross. 
They use that moon no more 
For the same end as before— 
Videlicet, a tent — 
Which I think extravagant : 
Its atomies, however. 
Into a shower dissever, 
Of which those butterflies, 
Of Earth, who seek the skies, 
And so come down again 
(Never-contented things !) 
Have brought a specimen 
Upon their quivering wings. 



THE LAKE: TO 



[First published in the edition of 1827.] 



In spring of youth it was my lot 
To haunt of the wide world a spot 
The which I could not love the less — 
So lovely was the loneliness 
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound, 
And tne tall pines that towered around. 

But when the Night had thrown her pall 

Upon that spot, as upon all, 

And the mystic wind went by 

Murmuring in melody — 

Then — ah, then, I would awake 

To the terror of the lone lake. 

Yet that terror was not fright, 

But a tremulous delight — 

A feeling not the jewelled mine 

Could teach or bribe me to define — 

Nor Love — although the Love were thine. 

Death was in that poisonous wave, 

And in its gulf a fitting grave 

For him who thence could solace bring 

To his lone imagining — 

Whose solitary soul could make 

An Eden of that dim lake. 

I. 16 801 



EVENING STAR 



[First published in the edition of 1827,] 



'TwAS noontide of summer, 

And midtime of night, 
And stars, in their orbits, 

Shone pale, through the light 
Of the brighter, cold moon. 

'Mid planets her slaves, 
Herself in the Heavens, 

Her beam on the waves. 

I gazed awhile 

On her cold smile ; 
Too cold — too cold for me — 

There passed, as a shroud, 

A fleecy cloud, 
And I turned away to thee, 

Proud Evening Star, 

In thy glory afar 
And dearer thy beam shall be ; 

For joy to my heart 

Is the proud part 
Thou bearest in Heaven at night, 

And more I admire 

Thy distant fire, 
Than that colder, lowly light 
d02 



^^THE HAPPIEST DAY" 



[First published in the edition of 1827.] 



The happiest day — the happiest hour 

My seared and blighted heart hath known, 

The highest hope of pride and power, 
I feel hath flown. 

n. 

Of power ! said 1 1 Yes ! such I ween 
But they have vanished long, alas ! 

The visions of my youth have been — 
But let them pass. 

III. 
And pride, what have I now with thee? 

Another brow may ev'n inherit 
The venom thou hast poured on me — 

Be still my spirit ! 

IV. 

The happiest day — the happiest hour 
Mine eyes shall see — have ever seen 

The brightest glance of pride and power 
I feel — have been : 

203 



204 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

V. 

But were that hope of pride and power 

Now offered with the pain 
Ev'n then I felt — that brightest hour 

I would not live again : 

VI. 

For on its wing was dark alloy 

And as it fluttered — fell 
An essence — ^powerful to destroy 

A soul that knew it well. 



DREAMS 



[First published in the edition of 1827.] 



Oh ! that my young life were a lasting dream ! 
My spirit not awakening, till the beam 
Of an Eternity should brin^ the morrow. 
Yes! though that long dream were of hopeless 

sorrow, 
'Twere better than the cold reality 
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be, 
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth, 
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth. 
But should it be — that dream eternally 
Continuing — as dreams have been to me 
In my young boyhood — should it thus be given, 
'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven, 
For I have revelled when the sun was bright 
I ' the summer sky, in dreams of living light 
And loveliness, — have left my very heart 
In climes of my imagining, apart 
From mine own home, with beings that have been 
Of mine own thought — what more could I have 

seen? 
'Twas once — and only once — and the wild hour 

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206 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

From my remembrance shall not pass — some 

pow^r 
Or spell had bound me — 'twas the chilly wind 
Came o'er me in the night, and left behind 
Its image on my spirit — or the moon 
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon 
Too coldly — or the stars — howe'er it was 
That dream was as that night-wind — let it pass. 

I have heen happy, though [but] in a dream. 
I have been happy — and I love the theme : 
Dreams ! in their vivid colouring of life 
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife 
Of semblance with reality which brings 
To the delirious eye, more lovely things 
Of Paradise and Love — and all our own!— 
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath 
known. 



«IN YOUTH I HAVE KNOWN ONE 



[First published in the edition of 1827.] 



How often we forget all time, when lone 
Admiring Nature's universal throne; 
Her woods — her vHlds — her mountains — the intense 
Reply of HEBS to our intelligence! 

[Bybon: The Island,} 

I. 

In youth I have known one with whom the 
Earth 
In secret communing held — as he with it, 
In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth : 

Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit 
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn 
forth 
A passionate light — such for his spirit was 
fit— 
And yet that spirit knew — ^not in the hour 
Of its fervour — ^what had o 'er it power. 

II. 
Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought 

To a fever by the moonbeam that hangs o*er, 
But I will half believe that wild light fraught 

With more of sovereignty than ancient lore 

' -^ 307 



208 WORKS OF EDGAR ALLAN POE 

Hath ever told — or is it of a thought 

The unembodied essence, and no more 
That with a quickening spell doth o 'er us pass 
As dew of the night-time, o'er the summer grass t 

m. 
Doth O'er us pass, when, as th' expanding eye 

To the loved object — so the tear to the lid 
Will start, which lately slept in apathy? 

And yet it need not be — .(that object) hid 
From us in life — ^but common — which doth lie 

Each hour before us — but then only bid 
With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken 
T' awake us — 'Tis a symbol and a token 

IV. 

Of what in other worlds shall be — and given 
In beauty by our God, to those alone 

Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven 
Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone, 

That high tone of the spirit which hath striven 
Though not with Faith — ^with godliness — 
whose throne 

Wi^ desperate energy 't hath beaten down ; 

Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.